Tennis star Novak Djokovic begins legal battle over visas
Controversial tennis superstar Novak Djokovic will remain in the country for the time being after fighting his deportation after his visa was canceled.
Controversial tennis star Novak Djokovic is expected to stay in Australia for the time being, with the government agreeing to postpone the best player’s expulsion.
The world No.1 player did not appear at the online hearing held at the Federal Circuit and Family Court on Thursday, but was represented by top lawyer Nick Wood SC.
The Serbian tennis star was scheduled to play Australian slam from January 17.
But after the hearings were twice adjourned Thursday afternoon because the necessary documents had not been received, the hearing took place this evening.
“The minister is not opposed to the granting of an interim injunction which would prevent the plaintiff from leaving Australia today,” government lawyer Christopher Tran told the court.
“It wouldn’t be fair to anyone for a decision to be made today … it’s not on the table,” he said.
The case has been adjourned and will resume on Monday and Djokovic is scheduled to remain in immigrant custody at the Park Hotel in Carlton.
Lawyers for the government and the player are expected to file comments this weekend.
The move came after lawyers said Tennis Australia wanted the issue resolved by Tuesday, so organizers can find a replacement if Djokovic is started.
“If I can say with due respect, the tail won’t wag the dog here,” Justice Kelly said in response.
The judge also said he was open to the player testifying in an online court about what happened with Nick Wood, saying one of the grounds would be “unreasonable or unfair”.
This came after Judge Anthony Kelly asked about the tennis facilities at the immigration hotel where Djokovic is located.
“I do not think it is unreasonable for the court to ask… whether the mansion in which the plaintiff is staying… could have facilities available to it for playing tennis,” said the judge.
“I don’t expect you to answer that, but it just seems like a realistic question to ask.”
The controversial player, who will not reveal his vaccination status, announced on Tuesday evening that he would come to the country to play at the Australian Open, where players must be vaccinated or have a medical exemption to play.
Djokovic was initially granted a medical exemption, but in a shock Thursday morning he was denied entry to Australia.
Australian Border Force said it failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet entry requirements.
It is understood that Djokovic is in an immigration hotel in Carlton where supporters and advocates for the refugees have gathered.
Asylum seekers have been detained at the facility, with lawyers previously arguing it was unfit to accommodate them due to a Covid outbreak.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times and was looking for a 10th title, which would eclipse rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The case will resume next week.
Originally published as Novak Djokovic legal stoush begins after cancellation of his visa to enter Australia