The fate of Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open title defense will be decided in Federal Court today.
Appeal against Novak Djokovic’s canceled visa will be heard at 9:30 am
On Friday, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke revoked the Serbian tennis star’s visa.
Djokovic is in Melbourne for the Australian Open which starts on Monday
The world number one Serbian tennis player will make his last attempt to play in the first Grand Slam of the year after his visa was revoked by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.
His appeal will be heard in Federal Court by three judges, Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan.
Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, had his visa revoked on Friday by Hawke, who said it was “in the public interest.”
The 34-year-old is not vaccinated against COVID-19, with suggestions that he incorrectly filled out his declaration form before arriving in the country.
If the Federal Court upholds the appeal, it will allow Djokovic to try to win his 10th Australian Open and become the all-time men’s leader with 21 Grand Slam crowns, overtaking Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
However, if his appeal is dismissed, he faces the possibility of not being allowed to enter Australia for three years.
Djokovic spent last night detained at the Park Hotel in Melbourne, awaiting the hearing.
He was granted a waiver to enter Australia by two different independent health panels: one hired by Tennis Australia, the other by the Victorian government.
However, he was detained by the Australian Border Force when he arrived on January 5 because he did not meet the federal government’s requirement to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Despite a federal judge dismissing his detention on the grounds that ABF officers treated him unfairly, Hawke used his authority as Immigration Minister to deny Djokovic a visa a second time.
In a court filing on Friday, Djokovic’s lawyers argued that the reasons for their client’s visa cancellation were invalid.
They said Hawke had wrongly canceled his visa because Djokovic was seen as a “talisman for a community of anti-vaccine sentiments.”
They have also argued that the federal government did not provide evidence that Djokovic could “foster anti-vaccine sentiment” and that the minister was not the one who made that decision.
Lawyers for the federal government had until 10 pm AEDT on Saturday to present a summary of their argument in court.
This has not yet been posted on the Federal Court website.
Djokovic is scheduled to play fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the tournament on Monday.