Vaccine exemption because of positive COVID test, Djokovic lawyers say

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 08 2022 11:00 PM

free hugs Reuters
A woman places a “free hugs” sign on a banner of Djokovic on January 7, 2022, outside Melbourne's Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia. Sandra Sanders, Reuters

Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic was given a COVID-19 vaccine exemption because he tested positive for the virus in December, his lawyers said in a court filing Saturday, 3 days after Australian border agents placed him at a Melbourne detention center.

The world No. 1 has also requested to be moved to a facility where he can train for the Australian Open, his lawyers said, after a vaccine exemption to play the tournament was rejected. 

"The date of the first positive COVID PCR test was recorded on 16 December 2021," his lawyers said in a filing to the federal court seeking to overturn the cancellation of his Australian entry visa. 

Djokovic, an outspoken vaccine skeptic, will have his appeal heard in court on Monday. 

Border agents tore up Djokovic's entry visa for failing to meet the country's tough COVID-19 vaccine requirements when he landed in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Foreigners are still mostly banned from travel to Australia, and those granted entry must be fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption.