Visa cancellation: Djokovic lawyer attacks Australian minister

Dhe leader of the tennis world rankings will have to leave Australia for good a week after his arrival. The number one seeded Novak Djokovic will therefore not be able to defend his title at the Australian Open in Melbourne. After a growing number of inconsistencies about the star’s behavior, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided on Friday afternoon local time that Djokovic would be expelled immediately. But whether this will actually happen in the end remains questionable. Because the Djokovic side does not want to accept the decision so easily.

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Christoph Hein

Business correspondent for South Asia / Pacific based in Singapore.

“Today I exercised my power to revoke Mr Novak Djokovic’s visa for reasons of health and good order as it is in the public interest,” said Hawke after an examination that spanned six days. With a view to the government under Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the wave of omicron infections in Australia, Hawke added: “The Morrison government is determined to protect the borders of Australia, especially in connection with the corona pandemic.” in Canberra rumors that the government is preparing for the deportation of the tennis multimillionaire at all levels, including an increased police presence in Melbourne.

Renata Voráčová, who was expelled on Saturday, had already filed a claim for damages against Tennis Australia on Wednesday. Djokovic’s highly paid legal team now wants to obtain a cease and desist declaration against the ministerial decision. That would have to be examined by a court. A deadline of 5:00 p.m. local time (7:00 a.m. CET) on Saturday has been set for submitting relevant documents. But it should go faster. This was announced by his lawyer Nicholas Wood at a court hearing in Melbourne. The Djokovic side wanted to submit the application later in the evening so as not to lose any time. “Every minute before the tournament starts on Monday is precious,” Wood said at the hearing before Judge Anthony Kelly.

Djokovic trains in Melbourne

In Canberra it was said during the night that the tennis star – unlike others in his situation – would not have to go back to the deportation center despite the ministerial decision, where some refugees have been waiting for admission for years. He would be allowed to stay in his place overnight and officials from the Home Secretary would speak to him on Saturday morning (8:00 a.m. local time / Friday, 10:00 p.m. CET). A court decision in the case is to be made on Sunday. Shortly after Minister Hawke announced his decision, Prime Minister Morrison spoke of “ongoing legal disputes” that he anticipated.

The lawyers are probably referring, among other things, to the question of equal treatment: In the meantime four members of the tennis circus who have left the country had been allowed into the country unmolested days before Djokovic with the same exemption – but why not Djokovic anymore? Of course, the majority of lawyers do not give the Djokovic team a chance. Nevertheless, it could mean that the star, if he doesn’t finally give in on his own initiative, will stay in the country during the Melbourne Open, which starts on Monday. On Friday, however, most believed that it would be very unlikely that he would be allowed onto the pitch after Hawke described it as “in the public interest” that he had to fly out.

Djokovic’s attorney Wood said the minister’s decision was “irrational” and disproportionate. At the same time, he criticized the fact that Hawke had waited until Friday after 6 p.m. local time to make his decision and thus put Djokovic in a difficult situation.

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