The submission from the government court disputes the tennis star’s claim that he was guaranteed access to Australia with a medical exemption from COVID vaccine requirements.
The Australian government has cracked down on tennis player Novak Djokovic’s claim that he was guaranteed access with a medical release of coronavirus vaccine requirements, and has pointed out in court documents that no foreigner has a guaranteed right to enter the country.
“There is no such thing as an assurance of access by a non-citizen to Australia. “Rather, there are criteria and conditions for entry, and reasons for refusal or cancellation of a visa,” the government said in a filing on Sunday before a court hearing on the case on Monday.
Djokovic, die world men’s number one, hopes to win his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, which kicks off on January 17 in Melbourne. But instead of training, the Serbian player was locked up in a hotel used for asylum seekers and disputed the decision to cancel his visa after being stopped at Melbourne airport early on Thursday.
The Serb, a vocal opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, said in an application to the court on Saturday that he was granted a vaccination exemption because he tested positive for COVID-19 in December.
His lawyers said he had the necessary permissions Entering Australia, including an assessment by the Home Office that responses to its travel declaration form indicated that it met the conditions for quarantine-free arrival. The government disputed this.
It said the department’s email was not an assurance “that its so-called”medical exemption‘would be accepted’, and his answers could be questioned and verified on his arrival.
The government also challenged Djokovic’s claim for a medical exemption on the grounds that he contracted COVID-19 in mid-December and recovered two weeks later.
“There is no suggestion that the applicant had ‘acute serious medical illness’ in December 2021. All he said was that he tested positive for COVID-19. It is not the same, ”reads the application.
The French newspaper L’Equipe published a photo of the player who was taken when he was named the daily’s Champion of Champions in the days after he said in court that he tested positive for coronavirus on 16 December. Other photos posted on social media showed him appearing at functions in Serbia on dates shortly after that test.
It was not clear if Djokovic knew about his positive test at the time of the events shown in the photos.
Djokovic, 34, has won the Australian Open nine times and the drama over his denied entry has caused a stir in sports circles, sparked tensions between Serbia and Australia and become a flashpoint for opponents of vaccine mandates around the world.
He also has 20 Grand Slam singles titles, a men’s record he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic’s lawyers will have up to two hours to present their case from Monday 10:00 (23:00 GMT on Sunday), while the State Department will have two hours to present his defense from 15:00 (04:00 GMT). The case is being heard by the Federal Circuit and Family Court.
The government document emphasized that even if the court had decided to release Djokovic from detention and allow him to play in the Australian Open, the government had every right under Australian law to detain him and remove him from the country because he is a non-citizen.
This particularly angered Djokovic’s father, who on Sunday addressed another small rally in front of Serbia’s parliament building in Belgrade where hundreds of supporters protested, claiming their vaccine-skeptical idol had been treated unfairly.
“The politicians say now that the court has decided that he can play, they can detain him again in accordance with their laws,” said Srdjan Djokovic.
“Are we animals? What are we? We are people. It happens because we are only a small part of the world, but we are proud. They have no respect for him. “
Djokovic’s brother, Djordje, told protesters he wanted to see him on the tennis court soon.
Australia says its health department informed the tournament organizing body Tennis Australia in November that a recent COVID-19 infection was not necessarily grounds for release in the country, as it is elsewhere.
However, Djokovic’s lawsuit says the Home Office wrote to him this month saying he had met the requirements to enter the country.