Novak Djokovic hearing adjourned, to remain in immigration detention

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Former world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic speaks during a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Andrej Isakovic/File Photo

Australia will not immediately deport tennis world number one Novak Djokovic as the star remained in immigration detention, a government lawyer has told a court hearing.

Facing a legal challenge from the Serb on Thursday, state lawyer Christopher Tran said Australia did not plan to deport him before a final court hearing scheduled for Monday.

Australia cancelled Djokovic’s visa and denied entry upon his arrival earlier, the country’s border agency announced, saying the sportsman “failed to provide appropriate evidence” to meet entry requirements.

The Serb had obtained a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination in order to play in the Australian Open, which starts in less than two weeks.

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Djokovic was taken from Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport to the Park Hotel, a government detention hotel notorious for several coronavirus outbreaks, pending his removal.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Djokovic’s visa had been cancelled on social media.

“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,” he said on Twitter.

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