MELBOURNE: The Australian government had not given tennis star Novak Djokovic an assurance that a medical exemption that he said he had to enter Australia without a COVID-19 vaccination would be accepted, government lawyers said in a court filing on Sunday.
The filing ahead of a court hearing on Monday was in defence of the government’s decision to bar entry to the world number one player over his COVID-19 vaccination status. Djokovic is hoping to win his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on Jan. 17.
But instead of training, the Serbian player has been confined in a hotel used for asylum seekers and is challenging the decision to cancel his visa after being stopped on arrival at Melbourne Airport early on Thursday. The drama has rocked world tennis, caused tensions between Serbia and Australia and become a flashpoint for opponents of vaccine mandates around the world.