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Friday, January 21, 2022

Djokovic to fight deportation in Victorian court

Tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic’s lawyers have fronted a Victorian court, challenging his impending deportation ahead of the Australian Open.

The nine-time champion’s application challenging the Australian Border Force’s decision to cancel his visa is yet to be formally listed, but arguments will be heard in the Federal Court later on Thursday.

He is applying for a judicial review of the visa cancellation decision by Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews.

The Serbian superstar claimed he had an exemption against vaccination allowing him to enter Australia, but it appears it was only granted for the tournament and not entry into the country.

He arrived in Australia late Wednesday night and after being detained at the airport was transferred to the Park Hotel in Carlton – an alternative place of immigration detention.

Djokovic will not be moved before 5pm on Thursday, government barrister Christopher Tran revealed.

Judge Anthony Kelly said there had been no formal application or supporting evidence filed in the Federal Circuit Court during a brief hearing just before 3pm on Thursday.

“I need to know a little more than I presently do about the conditions of the applicant,” he said.

The judge confessed to knowing little about tennis, questioning when Djokovic would be required at the tournament, if allowed to play.

The Australian Open begins on January 17 and he’s expected to play on day one or two, his lawyers said.

Judge Kelly also questioned what resources were available for Djokovic.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for the court to ask, as an open question, whether the particular hotel in which the applicant is staying or may be able to stay might have available to him tennis practising facilities,” he asked.

The hearing is expected to resume at around 4pm.

Djokovic is being represented by barristers Nick Wood and Paul Holdenson.


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