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Novak Djokovic, who is fighting deportation from Australia, tested positive for COVID-19 on 16 December, according to court documents.© Reuters
The world tennis number one is in immigration detention after having his visa cancelled when he arrived in Melbourne on Thursday.
The 34-year-old said in his court application that he had a valid visa and medical exemption from the organiser of the Australian Open.
The outspoken critic of mandatory vaccination is currently embroiled in a row over whether he is exempt from the country’s COVID inoculation rules.
Djokovic ‘told he met travel requirements’
The application says he received a document from the Department of Home Affairs on 1 January telling him he met the requirements for quarantine-free travel into Australia.
Djokovic’s lawyers said he received an exemption certificate from Tennis Australia, which was “provided by an Independent Expert Medical Review panel” whose decision was endorsed by the Victorian state government’s own medical exemptions panel.
Reports say Tennis Australia told unvaccinated players they may be able to obtain a temporary exemption if they had recovered from COVID in the past six months, according to a leaked letter.
Tennis Australia said it had not knowingly misled players and had always urged players to get vaccinated.
The guidance issued was based on information on a national government website to which it had been referred by the federal health minister, the association said.
“We have always been consistent in our communications to players that vaccination is the best course of action – not just as the right thing to do to protect themselves and others, but also as the best course of action to ensure they could arrive in Australia,” Tennis Australia said in a statement quoted by local media.
News Corp media outlets said the association distributed its guidance last month.
However, the government released a letter showing it wrote to Tennis Australia in November saying that a previous COVID infection was not necessarily grounds for exemption in Australia, as it is in some other countries.
Djokovic is one of three people connected to the tournament who have been instructed to leave Australia by border officials.
One of the others is Czech doubles specialist Renata Voracova, who played in a warm-up tournament in Melbourne this week but has now decided to leave the country. AdChoices
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