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Where is Novak Djokovic now? The Australian Open medical exemption row explained

Novak Djokovic (L) and a fan draped in the Serbian flag outside a facility in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic (L) and a fan draped in the Serbian flag outside a facility in Melbourne.

After being held at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne for nearly nine hours, during which authorities evaluated his visa, Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia.

Djokovic had earlier announced that he had received a medical exemption and was flying to Australia.

However, the World No. 1's visa was revoked by the Australian Border Force (ABF), who concluded that he had flown into the country with the "wrong type of visa" and failed to provide the appropriate evidence required to enter Australia.

Djokovic's lawyers have filed an appeal for an injunction against him being deported, and as per the latest reports, that injunction has been granted. The Serb's team will now make submissions in the court until Saturday, and a final verdict about his deportation is expected to be announced on Monday.

Media reports have since suggested that Djokovic has now been shifted to Park Hotel in Carlton. The Park Hotel is an establishment that has been used since December 2020 to house government detainees seeking visas to Australia.

Other reports also suggested that the facility houses individuals from Manus Island and Nauru flown into Australia seeking urgent medical care under the now-defunct Medevac laws. While some of the people were reportedly granted visas in January 2021, several remain detailed at the hotel.

The Park Hotel has a chequered history as a current makeshift immigration detention centre and former hotel quarantine site.Now it hosts Novak Djokovic as he fights his visa application denial and deportation. Story via @AAPNewswire 7news.com.au/politics/djoko…

The hotel has made headlines in the past, with several activists protesting the detainments. According to Reuters, the facility currently hosts about a dozen individuals seeking visas.

The fast-developing story has generated quite a lot of stir, with leaders from Serbia and Australia getting involved.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison came forward with his "rules are rules" reasoning behind the cancelation of Djokovic's visa.

"Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant," PM Morrison's tweet read.
Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.

Meanwhile, Serbian President Aleksander Vucic released a statement saying they would "fight" against the harassment being metted out to the World No. 1.

"I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world's best tennis player is brought to an end immediately," wrote Vucic.
Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia's president, has just spoken to Djokovic, still being held in a room at Melbourne Airport. 'I told him Serbia is with him. Our authorities are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world's best tennis player is brought to an end immediately.'

Serbian fans step out to protest Novak Djokovic's detainment

Fans calling for World No.1 Novak Djokovic to be set free.
Fans calling for World No.1 Novak Djokovic to be set free.

Djokovic's fans have also stepped out into the streets of Melbourne, draped in Serbian flags. Several were seen protesting against his detainment at the airport.

A video featuring a group of people protesting outside the Park Hotel has also made its way to social media. The video, believed to have been shot at around 3.20 pm AEDT on 6 January, sees protesters holding "Free All Refugees" and "Abolish Detention Centers" signs.

Protest ongoing outside immigration prison Park Hotel, Carlton, where Novak Djokovic is temporarily detained. Unlike the refugees in indefinite detention held there. Refugees supporters locked on in a cage at the front. Refugees looking down from locked windows. https://t.co/BMOAtwNZck

Djokovic's lawyers have been working to file an appeal in local Victorian courts against the federal government's decision to deny the Serb entry into Melbourne.

But as per the latest developments, a hearing at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia was adjourned until 6 pm AEDT after Judge Anthony Kelly said he had not received paperwork from Djokovic's lawyers.

Judge Anthony Kelly still does not have an application on behalf of Novak Djokovic against the ABF's decision to cancel his visa."I do not have the material so I cannot read it," he said.He has proposed adjourning to 6pm.

Notably, Australia's federal system of governance allows states to provide exemptions from vaccination requirements for individuals entering their jurisdictions. The federal government, however, holds control over international borders and can challenge the exemptions awarded by states..

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Edited by Sarbajaya Bhattacharya
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