Novak Djokovic 'won't win Australian Open' says Bowers
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Novak Djokovic’s lawyers have accused Australia’s Immigration Minister of cancelling his visa over fears that him being allowed to stay would “excite anti-vax sentiment” in the country. The world No 1 had his visa cancelled by Alex Hawke on Friday, but the decision is being appealed by his lawyers and a Federal Court hearing has been set for Sunday.
Djokovic first had his visa cancelled when arriving in Melbourne last week with a medical exemption granted by Tennis Australia on the basis that he caught Covid in the last six months, which isn’t valid grounds for an exemption in the eyes of the federal government.
His lawyers appealed the decision and won on the grounds of “procedural fairness” after the federal government conceded that they did not treat the world No 1 fairly when cancelling his visa and failed to give him enough time to provide proof of his medical exemption.
Although the nine-time Aussie Open champion was then allowed to freely enter Melbourne, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still had personal powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time.
And he exercised those powers on Friday, announcing at 6pm local time he was cancelling Djokovic’s visa “on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”
JUST IN: Evans in furious outburst over opponent’s toilet break during defeat
Later on Friday, a directions hearing took place, presided over by Judge Anthony Kelly, who also presided over Monday’s appeal hearing which saw Djokovic win the case.
The hearing was not an official appeal but instead served as the beginning of a court process which allowed Judge Kelly to consider whether further steps can be taken in the case of Djokovic vs the Minister for Immigration.
During the hearing, it was agreed that Djokovic would not be detained on Friday night provided he attended an interview at the Immigration offices at 8am AEDT on Saturday.
He would then be detained but spend between 10am-2pm at his lawyers’ offices, as he will still be classed as detained if a border force official is present on the same floor of the building.
Raducanu achieves new career-high ranking ahead of Australian Open
Australian Open predictions: Novak Djokovic to win 10th title?
Emma Raducanu learns Australian Open fate as she prepares for Round 1
He would then spend the night in a government detention hotel before returning to his lawyers’ offices on Sunday morning for the Federal Court hearing.
But his lawyers are now arguing that Djokovic’s visa was only cancelled because Mr Hawke feared “exciting anti-vax sentiment” in the country.
Nick Wood SC, representing the 20-time Major champion, claimed the Immigration Minister based his decision on the fact that Djokovic’s presence in Australia would add fuel to the fire of sentiment among anti-vaxxers in the country.
Mr Wood also claimed that, in cancelling the Serb’s visa, Mr Hawke had chosen to “remove a man of good standing” from Australia and “impair” his career over comments Djokovic made back in 2020.
Djokovic’s defence said the world No 1 is a high-profile person with medical contraindication to vaccination, who is also of “negligible risk” and of good standing.
He also slammed Alex Hawke’s decision as “patently irrational,” and said the Immigration Minister had given “no consideration whatsoever” to what the effect of deporting Djokovic may also be on anti-vaccination sentiment.
In lodging an appeal, Mr Wood said the challenge would largely revolve around the question of “interferences to be drawn from the minister’s reasons” and rationality and perversity in approach to his decision-making.
Judge Kelly said a hearing would be scheduled for 9am on Sunday, and the Federal Court later listed the preliminary appeal hearing for 10.15am on Saturday, to go before Justice Davi O’Callaghan.
It would be a tight turnaround for the Australian Open if Djokovic won his appeal once again, as his half of the draw will play on Monday.
Source: Read Full Article