Australian officials have had their bid to delay Novak Djokovic’s appeal against deportation rejected by a judge.
Djokovic, 34, was denied entry to Australia after landing in Melbourne this week to challenge for his fourth successive Australian Open title and is being kept in an immigration detention centre.
The tennis icon, whose vaccination status remains unknown, flew to the country believing he was exempt from its Covid vaccination rules after catching the virus in December.
After having had his visa revoked, the Australian government’s attempt to delay the Serb’s appeal in a court trial on Monday (11pm Sunday UK time) has now been rejected.
It follows the star being interrogated for six hours at the airport upon arrival on Wednesday, according to Sky News.
He is reported to have then been permitted to go somewhere to sleep, before being woken up by officials just half an hour later in an attempt to pressure him into cancelling his visa.
Fans of Djokovic both in Serbia and Melbourne have gathered to protest the treatment of the star.
His family have spoken out against the Australian authorities, who they claimed were treating him “like a criminal”.
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Meanwhile, Djokovic’s lawyers submitted a 35-page document on Saturday arguing that he fulfilled the criteria for vaccine exemption after testing positive on a PCR test on December 16.
But they face a challenge with the Australian government insisting that the recent infection rule only offers exemption for residents of the country.
Meanwhile, photos have emerged of the player apparently attending events without a mask on in Belgrade around the time of his positive test.
It remains unknown whether Djokovic was aware of his positive status, with there having been no announcement of his test result at the time.
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