Novak Djokovic 'won't win Australian Open' says Bowers
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The tennis players’ visa has been a bone of contention between federal and state requirements after he received a certificate that exempted him from a medical examination, satisfying Tennis Australia and the state of Victoria. However, he was held up and denied entry by federal officials.
Former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said the incident has undermined the country’s reputation and “makes us look like some sort of corrupt colony where decisions are made on political whim, rather than a nation of laws governed by an impartial legal system.”
Djokovic’s visa was revoked on arrival in Melbourne last week before being reinstated by a judge on Monday.
Documents presented at court showed that the 34-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16.
However, on December 17 he was pictured attending an event in the Serbian capital Belgrade honouring young tennis players.
There are also reports that he was at a photoshoot on December 18.
In the latest development, Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke is now in a fix over whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa or allow the Serb to stay and defend his title at Melbourne Park.
On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce admitted he was “wrong” when he thought it would have been “game, set, match” for the world No 1 tennis player to be deported after he tried to enter the country with a medical exemption to vaccination.
He said: “I got it wrong, I thought he’d be game, set, match that he hadn’t been double vaxxed and he would have been asked to go.
“But I got it wrong. So, I’m not going to pretend to be a solicitor again.”
Mr Joyce had previously said Djokovic had been “taking the sovereign capacity of another nation for a joke” if he didn’t fill in border forms correctly.
“You can’t just wander around the world thinking that because you’re really rich you’re really above the laws of other nations.”
The tennis star has been fighting to stay in the country, where he hopes to defend his title at the Australian Open.
On Monday a judge ruled Djokovic should be released from detention, saying he could have done nothing more to facilitate his entry and the decision to cancel his visa at such short notice was “unreasonable”.
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Meanwhile, officials are probing potential discrepancies in Djokovic’s declared timeline and whether he travelled in the 14 days prior to his entry to Australia on January 6.
The leader of the Labor opposition party, Anthony Albanese, also said the issue had been “botched” by the government, while Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said it was an “incredible mess”.
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