World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is free to leave Australia at any time, the country’s home affairs minister said Friday.
Djokovic’s visa was canceled after he arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday night with a medical exemption that would have allowed him to defend his title at the Australian Open without being vaccinated. But Australian Border Force said he did not meet entry requirements.
He is in immigration detention while awaiting a court hearing on Monday morning to address an appeal against his deportation.
"Mr Djokovic is not being held captive in Australia, he is free to leave at any time that he chooses to do so and Border Force will actually facilitate that," Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said, according to national broadcaster ABC.
The comment comes after the Serbian foreign ministry lodged a formal protest on Thursday to the Australian ambassador to Serbia, Daniel Emery, over the "inappropriate and inhumane treatment" to which it says Djokovic is being subjected to.