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Court Documents Show Novak Djokovic Had COVID-19 Last Month

Novak Djokovic’s attorneys filed courtroom papers Saturday in his problem towards deportation from Australia that present the tennis star examined optimistic for COVID-19 final month and recovered, grounds he utilized in making use of for a medical exemption to the nation’s strict vaccination guidelines.

The No. 1-ranked Djokovic was denied entry on the Melbourne airport late Wednesday after border officers canceled his visa for failing to satisfy its entry requirement that each one non-citizens be totally vaccinated for COVID-19.

Djokovic was given a medical exemption backed by the Victoria state authorities and Australian Open organizers on Jan. 1, primarily based on data he equipped to 2 impartial medical panels, and he was accepted for a visa electronically.

But it has since emerged that the Victoria state medical exemption, allowed for individuals who examined optimistic for the coronavirus inside the final six months, was deemed invalid by the federal border authorities.

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Djokovic has been confined to an immigration detention resort in Melbourne, the place he’s been making ready for the authorized problem towards his visa cancellation within the Federal Circuit Court on Monday.

The Australian Open begins Jan. 17. Djokovic is the defending champion and has received the Australian Open males’s singles title 9 occasions. He has 20 Grand Slam singles title, a males’s file he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Serbian tennis fans and anti vaccination protesters argue with pro-refugee supporters outside the Park Hotel on January 08, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. Serbian tennis followers and anti vaccination protesters argue with pro-refugee supporters exterior the Park Hotel on January 08, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.

Diego Fedele through Getty Images

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The Australian Broadcasting Corp. and the Australian Associated Press reported particulars of the paperwork late Saturday. It confirmed Djokovic acquired a letter from Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer on Dec. 30 final yr “recording that he had been provided with a ‘medical exemption from COVID vaccination’ on the grounds that he had recently recovered from COVID.”

The exemption certification stated the date of the 34-year-old Serb’s first optimistic check was Dec. 16, 2021, “and that he had not had a fever or respiratory symptoms in the past 72 hours.”

Djokovic attended a Dec. 17 occasion in Belgrade honoring younger tennis gamers. The occasion was coated by native media, and oldsters posted pictures on social media displaying Djokovic and the kids not carrying masks. It’s not clear if Djokovic knew the outcomes of his check on the time.

On Dec. 14, Djokovic had attended a Euroleague basketball sport between Red Star and Barcelona in a packed sports activities corridor in Belgrade. He was photographed hugging a number of gamers of each groups, together with some who quickly later examined optimistic.

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The courtroom submission Saturday stated Djokovic acquired affirmation from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs saying that his journey declaration had been assessed and that his responses indicated he met the necessities for quarantine-free arrival in Australia.

So, who’s at fault? Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated “rules are rules” and that incoming passengers had been chargeable for assembly border rules.

Tennis Australia and the federal government of Victoria state, the place the Australian Open is performed, are blaming confusion over the exact definitions relating to grounds for medical exemptions.

Tennis Australia, which runs the match and organizes the logistics for greater than 2,000 incoming gamers, employees and officers, reportedly gave incorrect interpretations to gamers concerning the acceptable grounds for an exemption. That included the interpretation that having had a coronavirus an infection inside the earlier six months would qualify.

The federal authorities disagreed.

The Victoria state authorities mandated that each one gamers, employees, followers and officers have to be totally vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the match.

The state, which accepted the medical exemptions for Djokovic, stated these exemptions for had been for entry to Melbourne Park, not the border.

Australian Open organizers haven’t commented publicly since Wednesday, besides to inform Australian newspapers that no gamers have been misled over the vaccination necessities.

Tournament director Craig Tiley has continued working within the background with Djokovic.

Tiley’s video message to Australian Open employees concerning the match’s “difficult time in the public arena” was revealed in News Corp. newspapers Saturday.

“There’s been a circumstance that relates to a couple of players, Novak particularly . . . in a situation that is very difficult,” Tiley stated within the video. “We’re a player-first event. We’re working closely with Novak and his team, and others and their team, that are in this situation.”

The 34-year-old Djokovic was certainly one of two gamers put into detention in a resort in Melbourne that additionally homes refugees and asylum seekers. A 3rd individual, reported to be an official, left the nation voluntarily after border power investigations.

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 01: Novak Djokovic of Serbia practices during the Davis Cup Finals 2021, Quarter Final, tennis match played between Serbia and Kazakhstan at Madrid Arena pabilion on December 01, 2021, in Madrid, Spain. (Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 01: Novak Djokovic of Serbia practices throughout the Davis Cup Finals 2021, Quarter Final, tennis match performed between Serbia and Kazakhstan at Madrid Arena pabilion on December 01, 2021, in Madrid, Spain. (Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press through Getty Images)

Europa Press Sports through Getty Images

The different participant was 38-year-old doubles participant Renata Voráčová, who had already been in Australia for every week earlier than an investigation by the border officers. She advised media from the Czech Republic she’d been confined to a room and there was a guard within the hall.

Djokovic reached out to the world for the primary time in three days on Friday night time, posting on social media to mark the Orthodox Christmas and thank his supporters. There’s been large-scale rallies in Belgrade and small teams of supporters have gathered day by day exterior his detention resort.

“Thank you to the people around the world for your continuous support,” Djokovic posted on Instagram. “I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated.”

Djokovic, after months of hypothesis he’d miss the match due to his stance on vaccination, introduced on Tuesday through social media that he’d acquired a medical exemption to play within the match.

Prime Minister Morrison stated which will have raised the eye of border officers.

Tiley stated in his video to Australian Open employees that he couldn’t converse publicly due to the continued authorized matter however defended his group.

“There’s a lot of finger pointing going on and a lot of blaming going on,” he stated within the video, “but I can assure you our team has done an unbelievable job and have done everything they possibly could according to all the instructions that they have been provided.”

If he fails to have his visa cancellation overturned and will get deported, Djokovic may very well be barred from the nation for as much as three years.

In an emailed response to The Associated Press about what might transpire if Djokovic loses his authorized struggle, the Australian Border Force stated: “A person whose visa has been canceled may be subject to a three-year exclusion period that prevents the grant of a further temporary visa.”

“The exclusion period will be considered as part of any new visa application and can be waived in certain circumstances, noting each case is assessed on its own merits.”

Associated Press Writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia contributed to this report.

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