“Novak Djokovic is being detained in the same place that refugees are held, some who’ve been detained for 9yrs. They came to Australia to flee war and torture. He came to win a tennis match. He will be allowed out. They won’t. Imagine if compassion and outrage was consistent.” 

Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator for South Australia


For a week now, the world’s newsfeeds have been full of stories about one man, and the drama surrounding one Australian detention hotel.


Novak Djokovic, the world’s men’s tennis number one, arrived in Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open on January 5. While he didn’t expressly confirm his unvaccinated status – COVID vaccination being a mandatory requirement for athletes and all others entering Australia – he did reveal he’d received a medical exemption to compete in the event. Hours later, upon his arrival in Australia, the 34-year-old’s visa was cancelled and he was denied entry by border officials, who said he failed to present the evidence required to enter without vaccination. He was sent to an immigration hotel, where refugees and asylum seekers are held. It is the only similarity between his case and theirs.


Only days later, a judge dramatically ruled that the federal government's decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa was "unreasonable" and ordered his release. He walked free, though the legal battle rumbles on, with a further investigation into alleged ‘false declarations’ and isolation breaches now under way.


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