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Novak Djokovic

Tennis star Novak Djokovic detained as Australian minister cancels visa over fears of civil unrest

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Novak Djokovic has been detained by border officials once more after his visa was cancelled by the Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke. Djokovic’s legal team immediately launched an appeal against the decision, calling it “patently irrational” and claiming Hawke’s decision was based purely on the government’s fear that Djokovic’s appearance at the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, might stir anti-vaccine sentiment in the country.

Djokovic’s final appeal hearing is now set for a federal court at 9.30am on Sunday morning in Melbourne (10.30pm tonight in the UK), and the player’s fate will be decided by Justice David O’Callaghan. If his expensively compiled legal team win the appeal, Djokovic will take on fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round on Monday evening, where he is expected to get a hostile reception from the crowd. If the government wins its case, Djokovic will be deported.

It emerged on Friday that Hawke based his finding not on the validity or otherwise of Djokovic’s medical exemption but on the potential for his continued presence in the country to stoke anti-vaccination sentiments and a threat to public order. Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid-19” and said he had “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”.

 

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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