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Tennis star Novak Djokovic ‘free to leave any time,’ Australia says

Story at a glance

  • Tennis star Novak Djokovic is free to leave Australia at any time, a government official said Friday.
  • Djokovic is currently in a secure hotel awaiting a hearing over his cancelled visa.
  • Australian Border officials previously determined that Djokovic did not meet COVID-19 vaccination requirements to enter the country.

Novak Djokovic is free to leave Australia at any time as he awaits a hearing on Monday where he will contest his cancelled visa, officials said on Friday.  

Australian home affairs minister Karen Andrews told a national broadcaster that the world’s #1 ranked player is not being held in captivity. Djokovic, whose visa was revoked upon his arrival to the country ahead of the Australian Open, was transferred to a secure hotel where he will reportedly stay until his hearing, leading to accusations of persecution from his family.  

“Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia,” Andrews reportedly told ABC, “He is free to leave [the country] at any time that he chooses to do so, and border force will actually facilitate that.” 

The defending Australian Open champion had previously said he obtained an exemption to play in the tournament despite questions over his vaccination status, which he has not revealed. But border officials determined he did not sufficiently meet requirements for entry into Australia. 

“I know there is a lot of chatter about the visa. The visa, on my understanding, is not the issue, it is the entry requirement,” she added, according to The Guardian. “Border force has been very clear that he [Djokovic] was not able to meet the requirement to provide the evidence he needed for entry to Australia.” 

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Andrews told Nine Network that Djokovic is not alone, and others entering under similar circumstances are under investigation.  

“We do have the intelligence to indicate there are some individuals here now that have not met the entry requirements and we have to investigate that,” she said, according to The Guardian.  

Djokovic is currently tied for the most men’s Grand Slam titles with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.


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