Tennis

Novak Djokovic reveals basis of Australian coronavirus vaccine exemption

Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic would be granted entry to France for the French Open even if he was unvaccinated against Covid-19, the sports minister said on Friday.

Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic contracted COVID-19 last month but was not experiencing symptoms, his lawyers said in a court filing on Saturday.

He had written clearance from Australia’s immigration department before travelling to the country with a medical exemption from its vaccination rules.

Djokovic, who is in immigration detention in Australia after having his visa cancelled on arrival on Thursday, returned his first positive coronavirus test on Dec. 16, 2021.

But 14 days later he “had not had a fever or respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 72 hours”, the filing said.

On Jan. 1, the Serbian sports star received “a document from the Department of Home Affairs (which) told Mr Djokovic that his ‘responses indicate(d) that (he met) the requirements for a quarantine-free arrival into Australia”, the documents added.

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Djokovic, an outspoken critic of mandatory vaccination, has never disclosed his own vaccination status.

He is challenging his visa cancellation in Australia’s federal court in hopes of winning his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open which starts on Jan. 17.

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