Lawyers say Djokovic received medical exemption after having COVID-19 last month

Novak Djokovic, November 2021
Novak Djokovic, November 2021 Copyright AP Photo/Thibault Camus
By Lauren Chadwick
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Novak Djokovic was exempted from Australia's COVID-19 vaccination rules because he tested positive for the virus, lawyers said in a court document.


The world's highest-ranking tennis player, Novak Djokovic, was exempted from Australia's COVID-19 vaccination rules after testing positive for the virus, lawyers said in a court document on Saturday.

The 34-year-old tennis player is seeking to defend his title in Melbourne and win a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open later this month.

He had appealed after being refused entry to Australia over his vaccination status.

The lawyers said Djokovic's first positive COVID-19 PCR test was on December 16, 2021, in a document filed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

But photos posted to social media networks appear to show Djokovic at an event in Belgrade with young Serbian tennis players the following day.

The Belgrade Tennis Association posted a photo of the player with teenagers on December 17.

Lawyers said Mr Djokovic had received, on 30 December 2021, a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia stating that he had been provided with a 'Medical exemption from COVID vaccination' on the ground that he had recently recovered from the virus.

To enter Australia, travellers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an exemption with a genuine medical reason.

Djokovic's lawyers further said he had received a document from the Department of Home Affairs saying that he met the requirements for quarantine-free travel into Australia.

But the Australian Border Force rejected Djokovic's medical exemption as invalid, saying in a statement on Thursday that it would continue to enforce border requirements.

"The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled," it said.

Meanwhile, the 38-year-old doubles player Renata Voracova left Australia after her visa was cancelled upon arriving in the country for the tennis tournament, AFP reported.

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