Djokovic: Anti-vaxx tennis star's Covid infection made him vaccine exempt, lawyers say

8 January 2022, 07:45 | Updated: 8 January 2022, 10:42

Novak Djokovic's court documents say he was infected with Covid-19 in December.
Novak Djokovic's court documents say he was infected with Covid-19 in December. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

World number one Novak Djokovic, who faces being deported from Australia, had a vaccine exemption due to a recent Covid infection, court documents say.

The 34-year-old Serbian professional was denied entry to the country and his visa was cancelled earlier this week.

He has filed a court appeal after being refused access ahead of the Australian Open, which is due to kick off on January 17.

In his court application lawyers said Djokovic had a valid visa and a medical exemption from the organiser of the tournament as he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16.

They say he met the requirements for quarantine-free travel as a result of the Covid-19 test.

"The date of the first positive Covid PCR test was recorded on 16 December 2021," they said in a filing to the federal court.

He's spending a third day in a detention hotel in Melbourne and is awaiting a verdict in his appeal against deportation.

Read more: Anti-vaxx tennis star Novak Djokovic breaks silence amid Covid visa row

The Age reports the tennis star has also asked for his personal chef to be able to cook meals for him at the Park Hotel - where he is being detained by Australian officials - but his request was rejected. The hotel’s usual chef is instead cooking meals that cater to the tennis player’s dietary requirements.

It has also been reported that Djokovic had asked to be transferred to a rented apartment with a tennis court so he could train and remain in top shape ahead of the Australian Open.

Read more: Djokovic's wife calls for 'love and forgiveness' as tennis star held in anti-vaxx row

Read more: Novak Djokovic to be held in Australia detention hotel for days in vaccine row

Australian Border Force have reportedly rejected all of his requests and insisted he will remain at the hotel until a court rules on his deportation on Monday.

In an Instagram story, speaking for the first time since he was detained by border force, Djokovic thanked fans around the world for their continued support.

He wrote: "Thank you to people around the world for your continuous support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated."

His father has also spoken out over the diplomatic row, comparing the embattled tennis star to slave revolt leader Spartacus.

He told reporters: "Tonight they can throw him in a dungeon, tomorrow they can put him in chains."The truth is he is like water and water paves its own path.

"Novak is the Spartacus of the new world which won't tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy."

His supporters have been protesting outside the hotel where he's being held, with Australia home affairs minister Karen Andrews denying he's "being held captive".