The 20-time Major winner Novak Djokovic won Round 1 of his legal appeal on procedural grounds, quashing the border officer’s initial decision to cancel his visa to enter Australia. The Australian government has expressed its readiness to cancel the visa again, so Round 2 should come soon. An Australian judge has agreed to delay any effort to deport the world’s leading player Novak Djokovic on Monday, as his court case continues. Judge Anthony Kelly’s hearing about Djokovic’s legal challenge to the Australian government’s decision to revoke his entry visa raised concerns on Monday about the Serb’s treatment after he was detained on arrival at Melbourne’s airport. Government lawyers had earlier indicated they would be willing to delay the deportation order, which is hanging over Novak, as he seeks to remain in Australia and compete at the season’s first Major.
Novak Djokovic is trying everything to stay in Australia and compete in Melbourne.
Judge Kelly stated it appeared Djokovic had received the required medical exemption from the coronavirus vaccination before he traveled to Melbourne to kick off his season and presented evidence of that when he landed on Wednesday evening. Djokovic’s plight has been closely followed worldwide, creating political tensions between Belgrade and Canberra and sparking heated debate over national vaccination mandates and those who are pro and against vaccines. Since Thursday, Djokovic has been held in an immigration detention hotel alongside long-term asylum seeker detainees. He was permitted to attend his lawyers’ chambers for the virtual hearings but without being seen in public since he arrived in Australia.
Djokovic landed in Melbourne last Wednesday, hoping to defend his Australian Open crown and seek the record-breaking 21st Major crown. Instead of a champion’s welcome, he was questioned at the airport overnight before having his visa revoked and being transferred to a Melbourne immigration detention facility pending deportation. Djokovic was deemed to have not provided adequate evidence of a medical exemption, which turned his visa into not the required one. We should not forget that this is only a partial victory for the world’s leading tennis player. He can leave the immigration detention, but the government still considers kicking him out – this time with a three-year ban.
“The point that I am somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” Kelly said.