Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was detained in Australia on Friday (14/01 Brasilia time), hours after his visa was revoked for the second time due to the lack of a vaccine against the Corona virus.
Lawyers for the 34-year-old, the world’s number one tennis player, have called on the court to try to overturn what they called the “irrational” ruling.
A hearing on his situation is scheduled for Sunday in Australia, and still Saturday in Brazil (19:30 GMT).
The day after was set for his Australian Open debut, a tournament he won on nine occasions. If he can compete and win this year, Djokovic could become the most successful men’s tennis player in history, with 21 Grand Slam titles (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open).
But in his dispute before the court, Sunday’s hearing, the tennis player could be deported and lose the right to a three-year Australian visa, if he is defeated.
Earlier, the visa was canceled for “health and order” reasons, according to Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.
“Today I exercised my power … to cancel Mr. Novak Djokovic’s visa for reasons of health and order and in the public interest,” the minister said in a statement.
For now, Djokovic is still set to play in the Australian Open, according to organizers, and is set to face fellow Serbian Miomir Kikmanovic in his debut early next week.
However, if he is relayed, it is likely that his seat will go to Russian player Andrei Rublev.
Djokovic’s visa was first revoked shortly after his arrival in Melbourne on January 6, after Australian immigration officials said he had “failed to provide sufficient evidence” to obtain a vaccination exemption.
Public opinion has also reacted against Djokovic, with many Australians having to face a strict quarantine. Many were outraged by the visa granted to an unprotected athlete.
Djokovic was held for hours at immigration control at Melbourne Airport, then spent days in an immigration hotel. Later, the judge returned his visa, ordered his release, and ruled that border officials had ignored the correct procedure.
But on Friday night in Melbourne, Hook revoked Djokovic’s visa using the powers of Australia’s immigration minister.
The law allows him to deport anyone he considers to be a potential danger to the “health, safety or good order of the Australian community”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision was made after “careful consideration”.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and rightly hope the outcome of those sacrifices will be protected. That is what the Minister is doing in taking that action today,” he said in a statement.
It comes after Djokovic claimed his agent made a false statement on his travel form. Djokovic also said he met a journalist after he tested positive for Covid-19.
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