Tennis star Novak Djokovic is back in a detention center as he continues his fight to play in the Australian Open, set to begin Monday.
The athlete is not vaccinated from COVID-19, but already had the virus in December. He was granted a medical exemption from the vaccine so he could be in Australia and play in the Open, which he’s won nine times already. But upon arrival, Australian authorities revoked his visa.
On Friday, Djokovic was placed in a detention center located at the rundown Park Hotel in Melbourne, for the second time, NBC News reported.
The No. 1 tennis player in the world is in a room one floor below an asylum seeker named Adnan Choopani, the report outlined.
Choopani described the hotel to have locked windows, a lack of fresh air, and poor food, which he said were “taking a mental toll on him and other residents.”
“I couldn’t believe that Djokovic is here,” the 24-year-old said. “I hope he shares what he’s seen.”
As highlighted by The Daily Wire, initial reports claimed Djokovic had his visa canceled by Australian authorities because he “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia.”
It seems, now, however, that authorities canceled the unvaccinated athlete’s visa “on grounds he could ‘excite anti-vax sentiment’ at the Australian Open on Monday,” the Daily Mail reported.
Legal representation for Djokovic argued before court that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s reasoning was “patently irrational.” Judge Anthony Kelly claimed the concern over Djokovic allegedly whipping up anti-vaccine sentiment “would be ‘an important foundational aspect of this case.’”
“Novak Djokovic’s lawyers have told a late night court hearing his visa is being cancelled on grounds he could ‘excite anti-vax sentiment’ at the Australian Open on Monday,” the Mail report said. “The tennis star’s legal team argued that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s reasoning was ‘patently irrational’ and failed to consider how deporting the World No.1 could have the opposite effect by whipping up more support for the anti-vaccination movement.”
Attorney Nick Wood told the Federal Circuit and Family Court “that government officials’ fears were unfounded, and that it would be wrong to ‘remove a man of good standing’ from Australia and ‘impair’ his career,” the report added.
Judge Kelly pushed back, asserting that “the issue of anti-vax sentiment would be ‘an important foundational aspect of this case’ given the wave of deaths and economic impact the Covid pandemic has had on Australia,” according to the Mail.
As highlighted by The Daily Wire’s Joe Morgan, Djokovic’s medical exemption was granted by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government, a state-level authority.
Still, Australian authorities canceled Djokovic’s visa one day after the athlete arrived in Australia, ostensibly because he “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia.”
There has been much back-and-forth about Djokovic allegedly providing “false” information on his forms. Essentially, Djokovic traveled while he was positive for COVID-19 but asymptomatic.
Djokovic has pushed back against the “misinformation,” saying that his agent had accidentally checked an incorrect box, which was merely “human error” and not deception.
Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, has since spoken out about his son’s detainment and treatment and called on Queen Elizabeth to “protect the human rights” of his son.
“I call on Queen Elizabeth, the leader of the Commonwealth, to intervene and protect the human rights of my son and to stop the political prosecution carried out against him since he came to Australia,” Srdjan said.
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