On Sunday, January 16, hearings were held in the Federal Court of Australia, where they considered an appeal to re-annul Novak Djokovic’s visa. The tennis player lost the court and will be deported. He now faces a three-year ban from entering Australia. MK-Sport tells the details.
Hearings in the case of Novak Djokovic in the Federal Court of Australia began at about 1:30 am Moscow time and lasted more than five hours. The case was heard by a panel of three judges – James Alsop (chairman), Anthony Besanco and David O’Callaghan.
It took about three hours to make a decision: after a break, the trial resumed at 9:45 (Moscow time) and about eight minutes later the fate of the first racket of the world was announced: Mr. Djokovic’s appeal to re-annul his visa by the Minister of Immigration Alex Hawke was rejected and the tennis player must leave Australia and pay all legal costs. The decision was unanimous.
Bench chairman James Alsop later explained that the court’s role was not to judge the merits of the government’s decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa. “We were instructed to check the legality of the decision on three grounds put forward by Djokovic’s lawyers. Given the interest in this case in various parts of the world, including in Serbia, Mr Djokovic’s home country, the court considers it appropriate to clarify a number of issues relating to the process. It is not the function of the court to decide on the merits or reasonableness of Mr. Hawke’s decision,” Alsop said.
Alex Hawke, in canceling Djokovic’s visa again, relied on the fact that “a famous unvaccinated person with an obvious disregard for anti-virus requirements, such as self-isolation, can raise anti-vaccination sentiment in Australian society.” Lawyers for the tennis player in court pressed on the fact that just the deportation of their client could cause similar sentiments.
But as Alsop said, the court did not decide whether the Department of Immigration did the right thing or wrong, it decided whether the decision was legal. It is legal and Novak Djokovic is leaving Australia and will not be able to play at the Australian Open.
Later, the Serb confirmed this: “I am extremely disappointed with the decision of the court. This means that I cannot stay in Australia and compete in the Australian Open. I will now take some time to rest and recuperate before making any further comments. I respect the decision of the court and will cooperate with the relevant authorities regarding my departure from the country. I feel uncomfortable that in recent weeks all the attention has been focused on me, and I hope that now we can all focus on the game and the tournament that I love, ”The Age reports Djokovic.
Novak’s lawyers had 30 minutes to appeal this court decision as well, but in the end the team decided against it.
While the court was considering the case, supporters of the first racket of the world with Serbian flags again gathered around the building, who, in the end, also remained disappointed. “I have lost faith in Australia,” said Mina Zogovich, one of the protesters. – This is no longer a democratic country. The man came here to play tennis to do his job… he is not some kind of criminal. The only way to ban him from winning the 21st Grand Slam is to ban him from playing at all. They did it.”
Minister Hawke, who revoked the visa, “welcomed the court’s unanimous decision”: “Australia’s strong border security policy has kept us safe during the pandemic, resulting in one of the lowest death rates, the strongest economic recovery and the highest vaccination rate in the world. Australians have made great sacrifices for public health and the government will protect these gains.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke the same way, and in much the same vein: great sacrifices, protection of the borders, and so on.
Novak will soon leave Australia, and his place in the men’s bracket, as announced by the ATP, will be taken by the 150th racket of the world – Italian lucky loser Salvatore Caruso . The first racket of the tournament, therefore, will be the Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev , and for him the path to the second Slam has become less problematic.
Meanwhile, Djokovic faces a three-year travel ban from Australia, meaning he won’t be able to play in his favorite tournament, which he’s won nine times, until he’s 38. And if he really can’t come, then the dreams of the calendar “Helmet” that Novak tried to collect last year can be forgotten.
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