The news isn’t good for Novak Djokovic. Just five days after getting clear of the immigration detention and deportation, the World No. 1 is again facing severe consequences.
Australia’s Minister of Immigration, Alex Hawke, ruled yesterday afternoon in Melbourne that Djokovic posed a health risk by being allowed to stay in the country, and therefore he flexed his power by re-cancelling the Serb’s visa.
Djokovic is still in the draw, but the tournament announced he will play Monday. So time is short.
Djokovic’s lawyers went back to Judge Kelly in a late-night hearing to fast-track a challenge and delay a any detention/deportation.
Oddly, the Minister’s contention is not over Djokovic’s exemption of using a prior infection to get into the country, which is not allowed (or is it? No one still seems to know). Instead, it’s based on Djokovic being a health risk and, as Novak’s lawyers argued, that his presence would incite the anti-vaxxers.
So clearly this is political. That’s why the government waited several days, allowing more time to gauge the public, and then based on that make this decision at 6pm on a Friday no less.
Is Djokovic really, truly a health risk? I would say no. And he’s been out in public the last five days, and practiced yesterday! Why let him out even that long?
Is Djokovic’s presence really going to cause more issues with the anti-vax community? As Djokovic’s lawyers said, things could get far worse if were deported under these circumstances.
But what Djokovic is fighting is greater than tennis. Led by their PM, the Australian government clearly has its target set on getting rid of Djokovic.
Djokovic will remain at his residence tonight before the Australian Border Force gets their hands back on him Saturday 8am in Melbourne. Djokovic will be detained but will have his lawyers with him during another interview with officials before another 10:15am hearing, this time in Federal Court. Djokovic will likely spend the night in detention before the big Sunday hearing at 9am.
Djokovic, though, has a match on Monday, so he needs a speedy decision or an allowance to play from the judge. But even if another decision falls in his favor, the government, I’ve read, could put him back in the courts again, in an almost never-ending loop.
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