The heavily criticized vaccine exemption received by Novak Djokovic — who has since had his visa canceled — was given to the tennis star by the Australian Open because he tested positive for COVID-19 in December, court documents released by Djokovic's lawyers revealed.
The documents explain the Australian Open's about-face after tournament director Craig Tilley said in November that Djokovic could participate only if he was vaccinated. While Djokovic was later cleared to play under the exemption, he was denied entry into the country and is now being housed at a state-run quarantine facility while he attempts to have his visa reinstated through courts.
Djokovic, 34, is a nine-time Australian Open champion and was the favorite to win the tournament this year, which begins on Jan. 17.
Australia Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrew said Thursday night that Djokovic won't be deported until at least Monday when his case is due back in court. While Djokovic's lawyer argued that he shouldn't be deported at all until the case is decided in full, the judge denied that argument due to the possibility that lengthy appeals could keep Djokovic in the country.