Novak Djokovic ‘free to leave any time’, Australian authorities insist

Djokovic’s exemption and visa situation rumbles on as the world No1 waits on an appeal decision

Sarah Rendell
Friday 07 January 2022 13:03
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Novak Djokovic 'knows the rules' for Australian Open entry, says Rafa Nadal

Novak Djokovic is allowed to leave Australia whenever he wants, according to Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews amid talk that the Serb is being detained.

Djokovic’s parents and fans have spoken publicly about the treatment of the world No1 after he was denied entry into the country.

The star had said he was given an exemption to attend the Australian Open without having the Covid vaccine. But officials stopped him at the airport on arrival to Australia, saying he did not have sufficient evidence of the exemption.

Andrews said that, contrary to some reports, Djokovic hasn’t been detained, he is just waiting for the result of the appeal of his visa cancellation.

“Mr Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia,” she told ABC. “He is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so and Border Force will actually facilitate that. We treat all people who are in immigration detention fairly, equitably.”

She added: “A visa was granted for entry, but that does not guarantee entry.

“He, along with any other individual who is seeking to enter Australia, also has to meet the entry requirements, which at this point includes medical evidence of vaccination or alternatively medical reasons why that individual cannot be vaccinated.

“He hasn’t met the entry requirements. There is a lot of chatter about the visa, but that in my understanding is not the issue, it is the entry requirements… that he was not able to produce the evidence which was needed for entry into Australia.”

Djokovic’s family have been outspoken about the situation and have even said their son is being “crucified”.

His father, Srdjan, said: “He met all the required conditions for the entry and participation at the tournament that he would have certainly won, since it’s Novak, the best tennis player and sportsman in the world.

“Jesus was crucified and endured many things, but is still alive among us. Novak is also crucified... he will endure.”

A second player, Czech star Renata Voracova, has also had her visa cancelled and she is being held at the same hotel as Djokovic.

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