In Melbourne, Novak Djokovic is protecting his Australian Open legacy.
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Will Novac Djokovic stay in Australia for the Australian Opern?
The eyes of the world have fallen today on the Federal Circuit and Family Court rather than Rod Laver Arena’s Centre Court, in a surprising twist to Australia’s summer of sport, as Novak Djokovic battles to participate in the Australian Open.
Before his visa was revoked upon arrival in Melbourne, the Serb, who has won the Australian Open a record nine times, was a strong favourite to add another trophy to his career.
Djokovic’s bid to cement his status as the greatest tennis player of all time has been derailed by hotel detention, an approaching court fight, and the potential that he will never win his 10th Australian Open.
This is how we ended up here.
The dates of Djokovic’s incarceration are shown here.
Djokovic was given a temporary activity (subclass 408) visa on November 18.
In a letter to Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley dated November 29, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt stated that players intending to enter Australia quarantine-free must be properly vaccinated and that a past infection could not be used as a grounds for exemption.
Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16.
Djokovic got a letter from Tennis Australia’s Chief Medical Officer on December 30 indicating that he had been granted a “medical exemption from COVID immunisation” because to his recent recovery from COVID-19.
Djokovic landed in Melbourne just before midnight on January 5 on a trip from Dubai.
On January 6, he was interrogated for half an hour from 12:12am to 12:52am before requesting if he may relax and wait until 8am to get legal counsel before being interviewed again.
He was awoken by two border officers just before 6 a.m., and “one of the supervisors pressed him to consent to a decision being made immediately,” according to court filings.
Djokovic consented to an interview at 6:14 a.m. because he “felt he had no alternative.”
He received word that his visa had been revoked about 7:42 a.m.
Djokovic was brought to the Park Hotel after eight hours of immigration clearance, where he has stayed while awaiting his court hearing on Monday.
It will take place at 10 a.m. Melbourne time, and the whole public will be able to view his virtual appearance.
Judge "agitated" over Novak treatment
The judge hearing Novak Djokovic’s appeal to stay in Australia says he is “agitated” by immigration authorities’ treatment of the tennis star when he arrived in the nation last week.
The start of the highly anticipated case was delayed due to technical issues with the web link for the online Federal Circuit Court hearing, which has now began hearing comments from Djokovic’s attorneys.
They informed the court that the notification to revoke Djokovic’s visa was faulty, and that he had gone to great pains to ensure that his paperwork were in order before travelling.
Judge Anthony Kelly mentioned Djokovic’s medical exemption, which was provided by “a professor and an extremely competent physician” and “a second, independent, expert, specialised panel created by the Victorian state government.”