Djokovic did not have guaranteed entry to Australia, says government legal filing

The government submission also challenged Djokovic's claim for a medical exemption from Australia's vaccination requirements on the basis he contracted COVID-19 in mid-December.

Members of the local Serbian community rally outside a government detention centre where Serbia's tennis champion Novak Djokovic is staying in Melbourne.   -  AFP

The Australian government had not assured tennis star Novak Djokovic of a medical exemption he said he had to enter Australia without COVID-19 vaccination, government lawyers said in a court filing ahead of a hearing on Monday.

Djokovic's legal team has said the Serbian player had an assessment from the Department of Home Affairs that his responses on his Australia Traveller Declaration indicated he met the requirements for quarantine-free entry into the country.

But the government's submission, released late on Sunday night, said the department's email was not an assurance "that his so-called 'medical exemption' would be accepted", and his responses could be questioned and verified on his arrival.

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The government submission also challenged Djokovic's claim for a medical exemption from Australia's vaccination requirements on the basis he contracted COVID-19 in mid-December.

"There is no suggestion that the applicant had "acute major medical illness" in December 2021. All he has said is that he tested positive for COVID-19," the government submission said.

Djokovic is hoping to win his 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on January 17. But instead of training, he has been confined to a hotel used to accommodate asylum seekers. He is challenging the decision to cancel his visa after being stopped on arrival at Melbourne Airport early on Thursday.

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