/ 11 January 2022

Djokovic’s fate still hangs in the balance

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty

Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic can remain in Oz after yesterday’s overturning of the Australian Government’s decision to cancel his visa because he is unvaccinated against COVID. Federal Court Judge Anthony Kelly found it was unreasonable for an Australian Border Force official to cancel Djokovic’s visa when he believed he had more time to consult with lawyers and his support team. What it boiled down to is Djokovic was detained after his arrival last Wednesday night and told he would have until 8.30am on Thursday to speak to his people and mount a defence. But as the transcript shows, the official cancelled his visa at 7.42am. That won out over the officials’ arguments that Djokovic should not be exempt from vaccination requirements for international travellers.

Hold your horses… Djokovic could be deported as early as today if Immigration Minister Alex Hawke uses his personal discretion under the Migration Act to cancel Djokovic’s visa. Hawke can do that if he believes someone is a risk to “health, safety or good order of the Australian community or a segment of the Australian community” or the “health or safety of an individual or individuals”. That decision was expected last night, but Hawke’s office says it’s coming happen today. Djokovic will be banned from entering Australia for 3 years if it does happen.

Seems so. In the meantime, Djokovic has been released from immigration detention and did what you would expect the men’s world #1 tennis player to do – he headed to Rod Laver Arena and completed a training session. “I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete at the Australian Open,” he posted to social media early this morning. In Belgrade, his mother Dijana said “This is his biggest win in his career, it is bigger than any grand slam.” As for fellow tennis champ Rafael Nadal, he called the chapter a “circus” and said while they don’t agree on everything (like COVID vaccination…), it’s time to get on with it. “I wish him the best of luck,” he said last night. 

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