Novak Djokovic wins the mother of all legal battles | Tennis News
Novak Djokovic winning field battles is pretty routine. On Monday night, a victory in court was as far from familiar as it gets for the Serbian.
To boost the prospects of the world No.1 tennis player to defend his Australian Open title, Federal Circuit Court judge Anthony Kelly overturned the Australian government’s decision to revoke the visa of Djokovic for failing to meet the vaccination and medical exemption requirements to enter the country. . The court order called the government’s decision “unreasonable” and ordered the Serb to be released from the immigration detention hotel where he had been held for four days.
Hours after the verdict, Djokovic tweeted a photo of himself and his coaching staff in Melbourne Park, with the caption: “I’m happy and grateful the judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite everything that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete in the Australian Open. I stay focused on this. “
As important and dramatic as the ruling that allows Djokovic to stay in Australia is, it still does not guarantee his participation in the Australian Open from January 17. Under the country’s Migration Law of 1958, the Minister of Immigration can exercise “personal power”. cancellation “which could lead to a further revocation of Djokovic’s visa and possible deportation.
In the extreme scenario, the nine-time Australian Open champion could also be banned from entering the country for three years. Australian media quoted a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke as saying the minister “is currently reviewing the matter and the process is still ongoing.”
The issue created a sporting, international and political uproar, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declaring that “no one is above the rules” hours after Djokovic was arrested by the Australian Border Force (ABF) at the Melbourne airport on Wednesday night and transferred to the detention hotel Thursday morning. The entry of unvaccinated Djokovic into the country to play at the Australian Open which required compulsory vaccination caused a major backlash among the Australian public.
Exemption from the vaccination mandate
Mainly, two aspects appeared to have tipped the verdict in favor of Djokovic during Monday’s virtual hearing which was broadcast live but was frequently interrupted (presumably due to heavy traffic volume). Djokovic’s legal team made the argument that the Serb followed all the procedures required of him before boarding the flight to Melbourne: since he was not vaccinated, he requested a medical exemption. in accordance with the rules established by Tennis Australia and the State of Victoria. The exemption was granted by two medical panels under a criterion that allows anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19 in the past six months to be exempted from the vaccination mandate. Djokovic had tested positive last month and he provided ABF officials with evidence to support his exemption.
This led Judge Kelly to ask the question, “The point that worries me a bit is what more could this man have done?” “
Nick Wood, one of Djokovic’s lawyers, replied: “To (Djokovic’s) understanding, without question, he had done absolutely everything he felt was necessary for him to enter Australia.
While the exact numbers have not been revealed, at least eight other Australian Open players and / or officials have also been granted exemptions under this criterion.
Not enough time
The other key factor was the timing of his detention. According to court orders, Djokovic was told at 5:20 a.m. local time on Thursday that he had time until 8:30 a.m. to provide his response to a notice of intention to cancel his visa. However, ABF officials arrived at the decision to revoke his visa at 7:42 a.m.
This, according to the judge – and even the respondent (in this case, the Minister of the Interior) admitted it – was “unreasonable”, as it did not give Djokovic sufficient time to contact the authorities. concerned.
“… if the applicant had been cleared until 8:30 am, he could have consulted other people and made further observations to the delegate on why his visa should not be canceled,” the order.
According to published transcripts of interviews between Djokovic and ABF officials at the airport, the Serb was first informed of the intention to cancel his visa at 3:55 a.m. At that time, he was told he had 20 minutes to respond.
“So you’re legally giving me 20 minutes to try and provide additional information that I don’t have?” Djokovic told the ABF official. “At 4am? I mean you kind of put me in a very awkward position where at 4am I can’t call the director of Tennis Australia, I can’t engage with anyone in the government. of the State of Victoria via Tennis Australia. “
“Bigger victory than the Grand Slam”
Djokovic was not seen at the hearing, but reports indicated that he was present in his lawyer’s office during its proceedings. The final verdict in the evening sparked chaotic scenes outside the office, with hundreds of Serbian supporters gathered around a car they believed was transporting Djokovic.
Back in Serbia, her family also celebrated the decision, with Djokovic’s brother Djordje describing it as a “great defeat for the Australian authorities” while her mother called it the biggest victory of her career. son. “Bigger than all of his Grand Slam tournaments,” Dijana says.
Rafael Nadal, one of Djokovic’s fiercest rivals on the pitch, said “this most righteous thing” has happened. “Whether or not I agree on certain things with Djokovic, without a doubt, justice has spoken,” Nadal told Spanish radio Onda Cero.