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what: The Australian Open draw takes place today, but all eyes are on the country’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who may decide in the coming hours whether or not to cancel tennis star Novak Djokovic’s reassigned visa and deport him – which could spark another legal crisis.
Djokovic arrived in Australia last week, only to have his visa revoked and face temporary detention because he did not have a valid medical exemption for the Covid-19 vaccination requirements for all arrivals. On Monday, a judge ruled that he should be allowed to stay, and he was released.
where: The tournament is being held in Melbourne, where Djokovic arrived last week and was training after his release on Monday.
Why was Djokovic arrested: All international arrivals to Australia are required to have the vaccination – which Djokovic does not offer – unless they have a medical exemption. The government argued that he had no valid exemption from the requirement.
Djokovic said he was under the impression he could enter because tournament organizers granted him a medical exemption on the grounds that he contracted Covid-19 in December, had his visa approved prior to his arrival, and cleared him of quarantine-free travel.
Why did the judge rule in his favour: The judge said the government did not give Djokovic sufficient advance notice about his visa revocation or the time to prepare materials in his defense. After his arrival, Djokovic was told he would have a few hours to prepare – but the government decided to cancel his visa before the deadline it had given.
when: Djokovic tested positive in mid-December, and recovered enough to receive a medical exemption from Tennis Australia on December 30, according to court documents. He arrived in Australia on January 5, and was soon placed under arrest. He was released on Monday, January 10. The tournament will run from January 17-30.
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