Novak Djokovic had vaccine exemption because of previous Covid infection, lawyers say
Djokovic faces a court hearing on Monday to decide whether he can stay in Australia
Novak Djokovic had a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because of a Covid infection last month, his lawyers say.
The tennis star was denied entry to Australia after landing in Melbourne this week to play in the Australian Open, after he had previously been granted an "exemption permission" to play at the tournament.
This was despite the requirement that all those who compete are fully vaccinated, something that Djokovic has never revealed, having previously voiced his opposition to vaccines in the past.
The Serb now faces a court hearing on Monday to decide whether his vaccine exemption was valid or not.
His lawyers claim that it was due to the fact that the 34-year-old had tested positive for the virus in December. Question marks remain over the legitimacy of this claim, due to the fact that he continued to appear at social engagements in the days following.
On December 17th, the day *after* Djokovic’s purported positive PCR test on December 16th, Djokovic attended an award ceremony for children at the Novak Tennis Center.
Many posts from the kids there posing for pictures with him that day, again masklessly indoors. pic.twitter.com/2ecOSwA7lU
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 8, 2022
Court documents released on Saturday state that the world number one had received a "a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia ('Exemption Certificate') recording that he had been provided with a 'Medical exemption from COVID vaccination' on the ground that he had recently recovered from COVID."
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The documents added: "The Exemption Certificate also recorded that the date of the first positive COVID PCR test was recorded on 16 December 2021, it had now been 14 days, and Mr Djokovic had not had a fever or respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 72 hours."
Djokovic's exemption was given by two independent medical panels organised by Tennis Australia, the body that runs the event, and Victoria state.
But when he landed in Australia on Wednesday, he was denied entry. Australian Border Force (ABF) officials said the player had "failed to provide appropriate evidence" at Melbourne Airport because a prior infection was not a valid reason to enter without a vaccination.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion is currently being held in an 'infamous' immigration detention centre ahead of his court case on Monday.