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Novak Djokovic was given just 20 minutes at 4 in the morning to find evidence for his vaccine exemption

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  • Novak Djokovic had just 20 minutes at 4:00 a.m. to provide the evidence for his vaccine exemption.
  • The Serbian had his visa revoked in the early hours of Thursday morning by Australia’s Border Force.
  • “You put me in a very uncomfortable position,” he said in an interview at Melbourne airport. 

Novak Djokovic was given just 20 minutes at four in the morning to provide the evidence for his Australian Open vaccine exemption when he arrived in the country, court transcripts have revealed.

The Serbian landed at Melbourne airport in the early hours of Thursday, January 6 local time, after which he conducted a series of interviews with the Australian Border Force. 

His visa was subsequently revoked following scrutiny of the vaccine exemption and he was immediately taken to an immigration detention facility in Melbourne, where he was held until being released on Monday.

During the interviews at the airport, which took place between 12:21 a.m. on and 7:45 a.m., Djokovic revealed he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 and explained that he had been granted a medical exemption that he thought would allow him to enter the country without a vaccine because he had tested positive for the virus in December.

“I had COVID twice,” Djokovic told an officer of the Department of Home Affairs. “I had COVID in June 2020 and I had COVID recently in — I was tested positive — PCR — 16th of December 2021.”

He later added: “I sent the blood analysis for my antibodies and had a sufficient amount and I was granted the access to Australia and I received the documentation that supported my medical exemption and the travel declaration coming from the federal government.”

Fans mob a car in Melbourne in which they believe Novak Djokovic is riding on January 10, 2022.

Fans mob a car in Melbourne in which they believe Novak Djokovic is riding on January 10, 2022.

Diego Fedele/Getty Images


The interview was then suspended at 12:52 a.m. and resumed 3:55 a.m at which point Djokovic was given a “notice of intention to consider cancellation” of his visa.

He was also told by the interviewer that he would be given 20 minutes to provide reasons why his visa shouldn’t be cancelled.

“I mean, I am really failing to understand what else do you want me to provide to you,” Djokovic said. “I have provided all the documents that Tennis Australia and Victorian government has asked me to do in the last three/four weeks, this is what we have been doing.”

He added: “So you’re giving me legally 20 minutes to try to provide additional information that I don’t have? At four o’clock in the morning? I mean you kind of put me in a very awkward position where at four in the morning I can’t call director of Tennis Australia, I can’t engage with anybody from the Victorian state government through Tennis Australia.

“I just you put me in a very uncomfortable position. I don’t know what else can I tell you. I mean I-I-I-I everything that that they — I was asked to do is here.

“And I wouldn’t be here sitting in front of you if I if I wasn’t complying to all the rules and regulations set by your government.”

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts against Britain's Jack Draper during their men's singles first round match on the first day of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic was released from immigration detention on Monday.

Getty/Glyn Kirk


After another break at 6:14 a.m., the final part of the interviews began at 7:38 a.m. Djokovic was told at this point that he was to be detained and sent to a holding hotel before being deported. 

Djokovic’s legal team filed papers to appeal against border control’s original decision while he was being detained at the Park Hotel in central Melbourne. On Monday, Judge Anthony Kelly called the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa “unreasonable” and ruled that he should be released from immigration detention and his passport returned to him.

The decision as to whether Djokovic may stay in Australia and compete in the Australian Open, however, now falls to Alex Hawke, Australia’s minister for immigration and migrant services, who could exercise a “personal power of cancellation.”

Hawke said on Monday, according to Melbourne court reporter Karen Sweeney, that “he’s still considering a decision and the process is ongoing.” A decision is expected early Tuesday in Australia.



Courtesy By INSIDER

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