Djokovic remains in Australian immigration detention as rival Nadal criticizes 'exemption'

Tennis star Novak Djokovic’s appeal against the revocation of his visa in Australia was postponed until Monday, so his chances of defending his Australian Open title are in doubt after his entry was banned.

The Serbian star must now remain in immigration detention at a quarantine hotel while awaiting a decision, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Rafael Nadal expressed his sympathy for his rival’s plight but said Djokovic would ultimately have to accept the consequences of his decisions.

Australian authorities banned Djokovic, the world’s top male player, from entering the country on Wednesday before ordering him to leave the country early Thursday morning local time. The Australian border agency confirmed that they had canceled his visa after he “failed to provide adequate evidence” to meet the country’s entry requirements.

The decision came after Australians expressed outrage at the news that Djokovic, 34, had received a “waiver” for the Covid vaccination to travel to Australia to take part in the tournament, as the country had one more Increase in Covid-19 cases is struggling.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among those who said the nine-time record champions of the Australian Open shouldn’t get special treatment to enter the country that has imposed some of the toughest border restrictions in the world amid the pandemic.

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“Rules are rules,” said Morrison, emphasizing that “this is ultimately the responsibility of the traveler.”

“It is up to the traveler to assert and demonstrate their ability to enter the country in accordance with our laws,” he said.

Under Australia’s current border restrictions, unvaccinated people can only enter the country if they have a valid medical exemption.

At a later time press conference, Morrison said Djokovic was not “singled out” but suggested the tennis star caught the attention of Australian border officials for past denouncing vaccine mandates.

“They (the Australian Border Force) are acting on intelligence to draw their attention to potential comers,” he said.

“When you get people to make public statements about what they say, what they say and what they will do, and what their claims are, they will draw significant attention to themselves and anyone who does, whether or not they are celebrities A politician, tennis player, journalist, whoever does this well can expect to be asked more questions than anyone else before you come, ”said Morrison.

If Novak Djokovic is deported from Australia, it risks ruining his chances of participating in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17th.Atilano Garcia / SIPA USA via AP file

Federal District Court judge Anthony Kelly said the request to review the Australian visa decision was delayed, according to the AP. Meanwhile, a government attorney said it had been agreed that the tennis player would not be deported until Friday at the earliest.

In an Instagram post On Wednesday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he had told Djokovic on the phone that “all of Serbia is with him”.

Vucic said Serb officials would “do whatever they can to ensure that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player comes to an end immediately”.

If Djokovic is deported from Australia, it risks ruining his chances of participating in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17th.

Also on Thursday, the Spanish tennis star Nadal said that although he was unhappy with the whole situation, Djokovic was ultimately responsible.

“In a way, I feel sorry for him,” he told reporters after winning a game in the Melbourne Summer Set ATP 250 tournament. according to Sky Sports, owned by NBC News’ parent company Comcast. “But at the same time he has known the conditions for many months and is making his own decision.”

“I believe what the people who know about medicine say, and when people say we need to get vaccinated, we have to get the vaccine,” said Nadal, who is double-vaccinated and only turned up last month Playing himself infected with Covid has an exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

He also sympathized with those outraged by Djokovic’s initial release.

“It is normal for people here in Australia to be very frustrated with the case because they have gone through a lot of very tough bans and a lot of people have not been able to return home,” he said.

The Victoria state government requires that all players, staff and fans participating in the Australian Open be fully vaccinated unless there is a valid reason for an exception.

Associated press contributed.

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