Bid to delay Novak Djokovic's deportation hearing by Australian government denied as tennis chiefs break silence on row

THE Australian government have had their bid to delay Novak Djokovic's deportation hearing REJECTED by a judge.

Djokovic is currently being held at an immigration detention centre following the cancellation of his visa, which he's appealed.

The Aussie government had hoped to delay the hearing until Wednesday, but a judge overseeing the case has refused to do so 'without prejudice' and ruled it will proceed as scheduled on Monday.

World No.1 Djokovic was denied entry into Australia this week after touching down in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.

The Serbian wasn't given permission to enter the country after an extraordinary mix-up with his visa, with border officials claiming he 'failed to provide appropriate evidence' for entry.

The now global row is down to the medical exemption the unvaccinated Djokovic had been given to play in this year's tournament.

Djokovic had been given exemptions by two independent medical panels organised by Tennis Australia.

The 34-year-old's legal team have submitted a 35-page document detailing their client's fulfilment of the criteria to be given a medical exemption to enter the country.

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Djokovic's lawyers insist a positive Covid PCR test on December 16 was grounds for him to be granted an exemption and entry into Oz.

However, The Sun has since uncovered pictures which appear to show Djokovic out after that date – although it is not clear if he was aware he had Covid when they were taken.

Tennis Australia broke their silence on the international incident on Sunday morning, insisting the safety of Australians is their No.1 priority.

CEO Craig Tiley told 9News Melbourne: "From the beginning of this journey, we have said that what's of absolute priority is the safety of Australians from anyone coming in from overseas.

"That's why we went on a journey of vaccination for everyone coming in, and actually, during the US Open, only 50 per cent of the playing group were vaccinated.

"Today, it's more than 97 per cent [at the Australian Open] – that's partly due to the efforts we made to get everyone vaccinated.

"However, on the course of this journey, as the introduction of medical exemptions were proceeded with, there was plenty of contradictory information, plenty of conflicting information.

"We were constantly seeking clarity from day one to ensure that we did the right thing and that we were able to bring players into the country with the prime example of everyone being safe."

He continued: "All the information and knowledge we had at the time, we supplied the players [with].

"Remember, at the beginning, we were saying the condition in which you can be assured to come into Australia is to meet the requirements of the certain vaccines that were valid in Australia and to get vaccinated with those vaccines.

"And then there's always going to be a handful of people, as it would be with people normally coming to Australia, not just tennis, that require medical reasons exemptions.

"We worked closely with the Victorian government to ensure that was actually two panels, two processes that only a small handful of people had to go through in order for them to be exempt.

"That was done and managed through the state government."

Tiley is hoping for a swift resolution to the matter, adding: "I would like to see him [Novak Djokovic] play at the Australian Open."


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