Djokovic Re-Arrested? Legal Drama Heats Up After Judge Orders Tennis Star To Be Released
In yet another twist, tennis world #1 Novak Djokovic has reportedly been arrested, according to the champ’s father, Srdjan Djokovic.
The news broke out in a short series of tweets this afternoon, coming in from The Pavlovic Today Editor in Chief, Kseenija Pavlovic McAteer:
Breaking📢📢📢📢 Father of @DjokerNole is telling me that they have arrested him!
— Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer (@ksenijapavlovic) January 10, 2022
A quick recap for the uninformed; last week, Djokovic landed in a fair bit of trouble as he flew in to Melbourne, hoping to settle down and prepare for the upcoming Australian Open. With a possible world record on the horizon, the 2022 tournament was of top importance to the champ – so when he was detained on arrival last Wednesday, he must have been truly devastated.
What followed was absolute chaos. Djokovic was held up at Melbourne Airport for over 8 hours, transferred to a quarantine hotel, was forced to surrender his personal possessions, and was ‘kept under guard’, according to his father. The player faced a visa cancellation due to a conflict between state and federal government authorities, specifically regarding his ‘special exemption’ against quarantine rules.
The state of Victoria aimed to send Djokovic back, while the federal government appealed to let him go. Soon, Twitter got in on the news, with fans lending Djokovic support and others accusing him of circumventing immigration rules.
Several fans who happened to be in Melbourne also took to the streets in protest – right next to actual refugee support groups:
Finally, the Djoker assembled a legal team to plead his case for an exemption. The hearing took place earlier this Monday, with reports telling us that the hearing went in Djokovic’s favor.
According to McAteer, however, the Australian government has arrested Djokovic despite the ruling. “They want to deport him,” she tweeted.
Some immediately attempted to clear the air regarding Djokovic’s court proceedings:
The only thing ruled in his favor was the prosecution agreed that the visa was canceled too early, at 7:30am, when they told Djokovic he had until 8:30am. It was a procedural win, not on the merits. Declaring his visa invalid due to immunization status is completely separate.
— Orwellspeak (@Orwellspeak) January 10, 2022
Very weird case. What we know for sure is Novak courts documents claim he had covid on the 16th and Novak attended public functions on the 16, 17, 18 etc December.
— UNEP=1.5Tpa pc (@1_5tpa) January 10, 2022
A few highlighted Djokovic’s previous anti-vax stance:
That will learn him to get vaccinated.
— Doley (@berniedole) January 10, 2022
While others pointed out the Australian government’s apparent hypocrisy:
Then Australia is a dictatorship if they ignore their own court rulings.
— Debbie (@SFC_Debs) January 10, 2022
Either way, the most vocal and furious public voice regarding Novak Djokovic’s troubles is his father.
“First, my son Novak is not in detention,” he asserts. “He is in prison. They took all of his possessions. They even took his wallet. Who knows what they are doing with his personal belongings. They can’t be trusted. They took his phone away for a few hours and then returned to him. Who knows what they did with this phone.
“This is the end. We won’t tolerate this cruelty.”
There’s some truth to be said here. While the government has publicly stated that “Novak is not in captivity and can leave at any time,” there was some crucial omitted information. Karen Andrews, Home Affairs Minister, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison deigned to explain that if Djokovic stepped outside, he would trigger a ban that could bar him from entering Australia for three years – cutting him off from a tournament he’s won nine times in his career.
The ball now lies in Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s court – who now has the power to overrule the court’s hearing. Further updates are expected across the following hours and days.
The Australian Open commences from the 17th of January, 2022.
(Image Sources: JapanTimes, @NovakDjokovic)