The Australian authorities confirmed this Friday, the 14th, that Novak Djokovic will be detained after having the visa canceled for the second time since arriving in the country and that the case will return to justice. The tennis player is expected to return this Saturday morning to the retention center, the Park Hotel, where he was staying before his release. In this way, the number 1 in the world can be out of contention for the australian open, which starts on Monday.
Melbourne’s Federal Circuit Court held an emergency hearing on Friday after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers to again cancel the tennis player’s visa. On Monday, the 10th, the country’s Justice annulled the previous revocation and released the tennis player from detention.
“Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Novak Djokovic on grounds of health and good order, based on the public interest,” Hawke said in a statement. “In making this decision, I have carefully considered the information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic. The government of (Scott) Morrison is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The Australian court ordered the Serb’s deportation, however, to be delayed until the decision is reviewed in the courts after Djokovic’s lawyers filed an appeal. “Mr Hawke chose to remove a man of good repute from Australia and harm his career because of the comments Djokovic made in 2020. He has no rational basis for saying that the decision he makes is to avoid further anti-vaccine sentiment, that he is trying to minimize,” said the tennis player’s lawyer, Nicholas Wood. “It’s patently irrational for Djokovic to stir up anti-vaccination sentiment. It’s a radically new approach by the federal government.”
Antony Kelly, a judge in the Australian state of Victoria charged with examining Djokovic’s appeal against the cancellation of his visa, however, declared himself incompetent on Friday and referred the case to the Australian federal court. The magistrate made this decision despite the objections of the athlete’s lawyers, who fear that the resolution of the case will be delayed, with three days left before the start of the Australian Open. The scheduled start and conclusion of the hearing is Sunday, the eve of the opening of the Grand Slam.
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, reacted to the new chapter of Novak Djokovic’s situation. He recalled all the difficulties that the Australian people have been experiencing in recent years because of the new coronavirus pandemic.
“This pandemic (from covid-19) has been very hard on everyone and we have to stand together in an attempt to continue saving lives. Together we had one of the lowest mortality rates, one of the highest growth and vaccination rates in the world. Australians have made many sacrifices during these two years and want those sacrifices to be respected,” said Scott Morrison in an official statement.
Skeptical about vaccines, Djokovic arrived in Australia last week with a special medical exemption that did not require proof of immunization against covid-19, a mandatory requirement to enter the country. He was stopped at the airport after authorities did not deem the document valid and was held at an immigration hotel.
Alleging that the authorities acted disproportionately in his interview, a process that lasted around seven hours in the middle of the night, causing the tennis player to stay for hours at the airport, an Australian court allowed his release. Since then, the Serb has been training to participate in the Australian Open.