Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

The fate of Novak Djokovic’s title defense at the Australian Open will be decided in federal court today.

Serbian world number one men’s tennis player will make his last attempt to play in this year’s first grand slam after his visa was revoked by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

His appeal will be heard in the federal court by three judges, Chief Justice James Allsop, Judge Anthony Besanko and Judge David O’Callaghan.

Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, had his visa revoked on Friday by Mr Hawke, who said it was “in the public interest to do so”.

The 34-year-old has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, with suggestions that he incorrectly filled out his declaration form before arriving in the country.

If the federal court approves the appeal, it will allow Djokovic to try to win his 10th Australian Open and become the men’s leader of all time with 21 grand slam crowns, past Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

But if his appeal is rejected, he faces the prospect of not being allowed in Australia for three years.

Djokovic spent the night in jail at the Park Hotel in Melbourne, awaiting hearing.

He was granted a waiver to enter Australia by two different independent health panels – one engaged by Tennis Australia, the other by the Victorian government.

However, he was detained by the Australian Border Force when he arrived on January 5 because he did not meet the federal government’s requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Despite a federal judge rejecting his detention on the grounds that he was being treated unfairly by ABF officers, Mr Hawke used his authority as immigration minister to deny Djokovic’s visa for the second time.

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The tennis star’s lawyers are releasing documents showing why the minister canceled the visa

In a statement to the court on Friday, lawyers for Djokovic claimed that the reasons for their client’s visa cancellation were not valid.

They said Mr Hawke had mistakenly canceled his visa on the grounds that Djokovic was seen as a “talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment”.

They have also argued that the federal government had not provided evidence that Djokovic could “promote anti-vaccination sentiment” and it was not the minister who made that decision.

Attorneys for the federal government had until 6 p.m. 22 AEDT Saturday to file a summary of their arguments with the court.

This has not yet been published on the website of the federal court.

Djokovic is scheduled to play against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in the tournament’s opening round on Monday.


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