Djokovic faces another night in custody in Australia before a court hearing. Reuters


© Reuters. Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic trains at Rod Laver Arena ahead of the 2022 Australian Open in Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 11, 2022. Kelly Defina / Pool via REUTERS

Authors Sonali Paul and Sudipto Ganguly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Novak Djokovic will spend Saturday night in Australian immigration custody before seeking a court order to halt his deportation so that world number one can chase a record 21st grand title at the Australian Open.

Court documents released after the first hearing in the Federal Court on Saturday show that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided to cancel the visa for the Serbian superstar because his presence could spark opposition to the country’s COVID-19 vaccination.

This will be the second detention for Djokovic, who spent the first four nights in Australia in hotel custody before the judge was released – go-before-courts-2022-01-09 on Monday after finding that the decision to cancel his visa upon arrival was unreasonable.

“While I accept that Mr. Djokovic poses a negligible individual risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others, I still believe that his presence may pose a risk to the health of the Australian community,” Hawke said in a letter to Djokovic. and his legal team.

This explanation in Djokovic’s sworn statement is more detailed than a brief statement Hawke issued on Friday, saying his decision is based on “health and good order”.

Judge David O’Callaghan has scheduled a hearing on Djokovic’s appeal on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (Saturday 10:30 p.m. GMT), and the question of whether it will be held before a single judge or a full court has yet to be decided.

Djokovic’s lawyers said Friday that they would argue that deportation would only boost anti-vaccination sentiment and be as threatening to the disorder and public health as release and release from Australia’s demand that all visitors be vaccinated.

A court order Friday night required the 34-year-old to surrender to immigration officials for an interview Saturday morning, before being taken to law enforcement officials for a preliminary hearing. After leaving his lawyers, he will be taken into immigration custody.

Border forces and the office of the immigration minister did not immediately respond to requests for comment on whether Djokovic was in the interview.

The government has said it will not deport Djokovic until his complaint is heard. Djokovic wants to be able to defend his title at the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.


The controversy overshadowed the traditional preparation for the Grand Slam tournament, and players were tired of the saga.

“I feel like it’s taking away competitors who just want to start. We’re just eager to go out and compete,” Australian number one Alex de Minaur told reporters at Melbourne Park, where the tournament is being held.

Djokovic’s medical exemption from the vaccination request for the Open has sparked huge outrage in Australia, which has gone through some of the toughest quarantines against COVID-19 in the world and where more than 90% of adults have been vaccinated, but hospitalization rates remain high.

As global scientists and policymakers focus on vaccinating as many people as possible to end the pandemic, Djokovic’s refusal to receive a sting has sparked an anti-vaccination movement, especially in his native Serbia / europe / djokovics-australian-visa-row-fuels-vaccination-debate-serbia-2022-01-12 and surrounding countries.

The controversy over tennis players has become a political cornerstone for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he prepares for the May election.

His government received support at home for its tough stance on border security during the pandemic, but faced criticism for resolving Djokovic’s visa application.

Djokovic, who should play against his Serbian colleague Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the Open, is chasing a record 21st Grand Slam title. But instead of hitting Rod Laver Arena on Monday, he could be deported on a flight from Melbourne.

He has the option to retire and leave Australia at his own discretion. If he retires before the first day of the game, Andrey Rublev would take his place -01- 14 in the first round.


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