What's Next in Djokovic Case? Court Hearing on Sunday Morning at 4am IST
Novak Djokovic is currently back at the detention hotel after his visa was cancelled for a second time, on Friday.
World's number one men's tennis player Novak Djokovic's hopes of defending his Australian Open crown rest on the outcome of a three-judge Federal court hearing on Sunday morning, that is to begin at 4am IST.
That the case will be heard by three judges – and not just one – is being seen as a small victory for the Serbian's legal team, even as the winner of 20 Grand Slam titles will spend a fifth night in the city's detention hotel on Saturday after Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke cancelled his visa for a second time, on Friday.
If the defending Australian Open champion gets a reprieve on Sunday, he will be playing his opening-round match against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday. However, if the case stretches onto Tuesday it is unlikely Djokovic will be able to play at the Melbourne Park as he has been ordered to stay at the detention hotel in the city.
Djokovic was given a reprieve on Tuesday when the court overturned the cancellation of his visa following his arrival on 6 January, however Alex Hawke used his discretionary powers to cancel the Serb's document on the ground that his presence in the country might incite anti-vaccination sentiment.
Djokovic, who is an anti-vaccine advocate, has not been vaccinated and did not follow Australia's 'only fully vaccinated visitors' policy. However, he was issued a medical exemption, on the grounds that he suffered from Covid-19 in December, by Tennis Australia and the Victoria State government.
Hawke said his decision to cancel the Serb's visa was made as his presence in Australia "may influence others" and also trigger “civil unrest” from anti-vaccine campaigners.
A report in The West Australian on Saturday said that Djokovic was driven from his lawyer's office to the Park Hotel in Melbourne's Carlton, "which is being used as an immigration detention centre, on Saturday afternoon. Wearing a green tracksuit and a white face mask, he appeared composed in the back of a vehicle."
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been critical with the treatment meted out to Djokovic -- the country's top athlete --, saying it amounted to harassment and maltreatment by the Australian authorities.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, however, has insisted that the player's visa cancellation was carried out in public interest.
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