Novak Djokovic 'to sue Australian government for £3m' over deportation

20 January 2022, 16:01

Novak Djokovic is reportedly preparing to sue the Australian government.
Novak Djokovic is reportedly preparing to sue the Australian government. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The world number one tennis star Novak Djokovic is said to be in talks with lawyers to sue the Australian government for more than £3 million over "ill treatment".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Serbian player, who is unvaccinated, was deported from the country on Sunday following an 11-day visa row over his jab status.

He was forced to leave Australia, where he was hoping to defend his Australian Open title, when his last-ditch bid to overturn a government deportation order was rejected by judges.

The world number one is now seeking damages worth $6 million (about £3.2 million) including $4.35m in prize money he expected to have won, according to The Sun.

A source close to his agent Edoardo Artladi said: "It's well known that Novak and his family feel he was poorly treated in the quarantine hotel in Melbourne.

"His mother revealed how it was full of fleas and maggots. He was kept a virtual prisoner."

Read more: 'God bless you Novak': Serbia welcomes back Djokovic after Australian visa row

Read more: Novak Djokovic leaves Australia after losing visa case as Serbian president blasts 'lies'

The 34-year-old had his visa cancelled at the border when first arriving in Melbourne earlier this month despite being granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia.

The nine-time Australian Open champion was then questioned overnight and had his visa cancelled by border officials the following morning.

His lawyers say he was medically exempt due to a positive Covid test result in December.

He spent the weekend in a government detention hotel before winning an appeal to have the decision overturned on the grounds of "procedural fairness" after the federal government conceded they were unfair in failing to give Djokovic enough time to prove his exemption.

He then had his visa cancelled for a second time last Friday and returned to detention once again while awaiting his second appeal hearing.

Read more: Andrew Castle fumes at 'sinister' and 'heavily politicised' Djokovic ruling

He was later deported when the Immigration Minister cancelled his visa for a second time, saying his presence could stir up anti-vaccine sentiment and that kicking him out was necessary to keep Australians safe.

A plane carrying the number one ranked player touched down in the capital Belgrade on Monday, to only a handful of fans waving the Serbian flag, despite many predicting a hero's welcome.

"God bless you Novak" read one of the banners held by the fans at the airport as he was whisked through passport control and customs and then driven by his brother Djordje to his apartment in Belgrade.

There is uncertainty over what will come next for the player ahead of the French Open, which is the next Grand Slam, in late May.

French officials have said a new law requiring vaccination to enter sports venues, restaurants and other public places, would have no exceptions.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

The shooter's mother insisted he was not violent

'My son was not violent' insists mother of Texas gunman who killed 21 at school

Texas School Shooting

Gunman warned of Texas school attack on social media

Police fire tear gas to disperse supporters of Pakistan’s key opposition party marching towards Islamabad

Police in Pakistan fire tear gas in bid to stop ex-PM Khan’s banned rally

Uziyah Garcia was among those killed in the shooting

Desperation becomes sorrow following Texas school shooting

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer

Put yourselves in shoes of these parents for once, senator urges after shooting

The archbishop of San Antonio, Gustavo Garcia-Siller, comforts families

Children killed in Texas shooting were barricaded in classroom with killer

Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine says Russia must withdraw to pre-war positions before talks can happen

Kim Jong Un

North Korea ‘fires suspected ICBM and two other missiles into sea’

Relatives hug outside school

Biden demands gun control after 19 children killed in US school shooting

Michelle Bachelet, UN high commissioner for human rights

Chinese leader defends record to UN human rights chief

Gas pipeline

Hungary proposes removing Russian oil embargo from EU summit agenda

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, centre, raises hands

Marcos Jr proclaimed next president of Philippines after landslide election win

A building ruined by shelling

Russian shelling ‘kills six civilians’ in Donbas region

Pakistan police

Roadblocks set up in Pakistani capital to thwart Imran Khan rally

Brian Kemp

Trump suffers stinging losses in Georgia Republican contests

Mikhail Kasyanov said Putin's generals were afraid to give him bad news

Generals 'afraid to give Putin bad news,' Russia's former PM tells LBC