Novak Djokovic remains in a Melbourne detention centre after the World number one men's tennis player had his visa to enter Australia dramatically revoked on arrival in Melbourne.
Australia has implemented the most extreme and totalitarian covid rules outside China, with Melbourne increasingly resembling a Netflix dystopian series in the last 12 months.
Tournament organisers said the Serbian player, who has said he is opposed to vaccination, had been granted medical exemption by two independent medical panels organised by Tennis Australia, the body that runs the event, and Victoria state. But the totalitarian state government are said to be using Djokovic to ‘set an example’ to others against the vaccine regime.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied Djokovic was being singled out or a political prisoner But he added that Djokovic's stance on vaccination had drawn attention.
"When you get people making public statements - of what they say they have, and what they are going to do, and what their claims are - well they draw significant attention to themselves,". Morrison told reporters.
On Wednesday, border officials said the 34-year-old had "failed to provide appropriate evidence" for entry after arriving from Dubai. He is now being held at a hotel in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton which is used for immigration detention.
The Serbian travelled to Australia after receiving an exemption from Tennis Australia and the Victorian government to compete. It was granted following a process that included assessment by two panels of health experts. Djokovic had expected that exemption would – along with his federal government-issued visa – allow him to play at the Australian Open.
On arrival, however, border force officials at the airport said Djokovic was unable to justify the grounds for his exemption.
Morrison said on Thursday that Tennis Australia had been advised several months ago that a recent infection did not meet the criteria for an exemption to enter Australia unvaccinated.
Using the sports star as a political tool has created an international incident, with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, claiming harassment of its star player.
“I’ve just finished my telephone conversation with Novak Djokovic,” Vučić posted on Instagram. “I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately. In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice.”