Australian Federal Court rejects Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic's deportation appeal

Sports Sunday 16/January/2022 11:14 AM
By: DW
Australian Federal Court rejects Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic's deportation appeal
Serb tennis player Novak Djokovic hopes to remain in Melbourne and play his first match of the Austrlian Open on Monday night

Melbourne:Australia's Federal Court has ruled against Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic's appeal of a deportation order, meaning he likely will not be allowed to play in the Australian Open on Monday night.

Australia's Federal Court Chief Justice James Allsop, announced the court's decision after deliberating with two fellow judges. Djokovic had been seeking to overturn Immigration Minister Alex Hawke's decision to cancel his visa for a second time, due to his vaccination status.

Chief Justice Allsop said that the court was deciding on an application to the court, to review the decision of a minister, and the lawfulness of that decision.

Grounds the court focused on were whether the decision was made irrationally or whether Hawke's was legally unreasonable.

It was decided that Djokovic's amended application be dismissed with costs.

Djokovic spent Saturday night in an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne, but was allowed to leave on Sunday to meet with his legal team, under the watch of immigration officials.

On Friday, Djokovic had his visa canceled by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. That was despite a lower court's decision with overturned the first visa cancelation.

Hawke's lawyers argue that Djokovic is a "talisman of a community of anti-vaccine sentiment."

Hawke's legal team referenced the star's attendance of a French media interview while he was infectious after testing positive for COVID-19 in December.

"The minister took the view that his presence in Australia would encourage people to emulate his apparent disregard for ... safety measures,'' lawyer Stephen Lloyd said.

The tennis star's lawyer's argued that there was no evidence to suggest Djokovic would "foster anti-vaccination sentiment."

Lawyer Nick Wood said that deporting the star could stir up anti-vax sentiment.