World no.1 tennis star, Novak Djokovic, and another international tennis player have taken the spotlight of the Australian Open after being denied entry into Australia over their vaccine status.
Djokovic has taken to Instagram for the first time since arriving in Australia amid the visa debacle that led him to him being housed in an immigration detention hotel.
“Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support,” Djokovic said.
“I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated.”
Djokovic’s visa was cancelled by the Australian Border Force (ABF) last week due to the tennis star failing to provide the appropriate documents for entry into Australia.
“The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled,” the ABF wrote in a statement.
“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia.”
Czech doubles specialist Renata Voracova was also placed in the same hotel quarantine by the ABF and had her visa cancelled, despite having already played an event in Melbourne last week.
The ABF also confirmed that action has been taken against another person within the tennis cohort.
“One individual (a coach) has voluntarily departed Australia … and the visa of a third individual (Voracova) has been cancelled,” the ABF said.
News of Voracova’s placement in detention invited questioning from the Czech Foreign Ministry to Australian officials.
“We can confirm that Czech tennis player Renata Voracova is in the same detention as Djokovic, together with several other players,” the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We submitted through our embassy in Canberra a protest note and are asking for an explanation of the situation.
“However, Renata Voracova decided to drop out of the tournament due to limited possibilities for training and to leave Australia.”
These tennis stars being unable to play has upset many fans with protests happening outside of the detention centre where Djokovic is being detained.
Djokovic is appealing the cancellation of his Australian visa in a court case today where his lawyers’ argument relies on the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations, which said vaccination can be deferred for up to six months due to a Covid-19 infection, which he had on the 16th of December.
If Djokovic wins the government could once again cancel his visa and detain him.