Novak Djokovic’s lawyers cite a Covid-19 infection in December to justify his medical exemption

As one might expect, the unlikely scenario of the “Djokovic affair” has taken a procedural turn in recent hours. Logical since the case of the world number 1 will be judged in Melbourne, Monday 10 am, Australian time (midnight in the night from Sunday to Monday, in France). In a 35-page document filed with the Federal Circuit and Family Court (Australian Federal Court), his lawyers say the Serb was granted a vaccination exemption because he contracted the coronavirus on December 16.

They also produced a document from the Australian Department of Home Affairs confirming that their client met the requirements for quarantine-free travel. They let it be known that the latter had asked to leave his hotel, in order to be able to train, and also denounced the fact that their client had been detained for eight hours at the airport, without being able to communicate. Blocked in a room at the Park Hotel in Melbourne since Thursday, in conditions denounced by his family, Djokovic has been under threat of deportation from Australian territory since the cancellation of his visa.

However, the lawyers’ argument runs the risk of encountering a series of problems. The first concerns the date of infection. According to official documents, a positive test recorded on December 16 comes too late. The “deadline” to benefit from the exemption goes back a week before, at the latest on December 10th. The second relates to Djokovic’s actions in the days following his PCR test. The same day, he took part, unmasked, in a ceremony to celebrate the issue of a stamp bearing his likeness. The next day, he would have posed, still unmasked, surrounded by children, at the Novak Tennis Center. Faced with these inconsistencies, his only defensive position would then be to affirm that he only learned of the result of his test on December 18. The third hiatus is that the Australian government has assured that it warned Tennis Australia in November that these provisions were only valid for Australian residents, not for foreign citizens wishing to enter the country.

Djokovic’s appeal broadcast live

This imbroglio once again proves the dysfunctions between Tennis Australia and the federal government. The organization that runs the Australian Open did not understand (or did not want to understand) the rules issued by the government for entry into the territory. Clearly, what is part of the valid reasons for obtaining this exemption for Tennis Australia (having contracted the virus after July 31, 2021) is not for the federal government.

In the midst of turmoil, the Australian Tennis Federation is not letting go. Craig Tiley, the boss of the Australian Open, sent his teams a video obtained on Saturday the Herald Sunin which he pleads his case: “We blame a lot, but I can assure you that our team did an incredible job. We understand the current situation and are working closely with Novak and his team, as well as others and their team, who find themselves in this situation. » For her part, Novak Djokovic’s press secretary said that no press release would be published on the subject before Monday’s verdict.

The icing on a cake that is already very heavy to digest: the case “Novak Djokovic vs Minister for home affairs” will be broadcast live. It may be followed by “any member of the public”specifies the site of the Australian government.

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