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19 Jan, 2022 12:20

Australian court sets date for Djokovic explanation

The Australian Federal Court is set to release its reasons for dismissing the case of Novak Djokovic in his deportation scandal
Australian court sets date for Djokovic explanation

The Australian Federal Court says it will provide the reasons for the decision to dismiss Novak Djokovic’s challenge against the cancelation of his visa in a live-streamed session on Thursday, January 20.

Djokovic lost his legal bid to remain in Australia on Sunday when a panel of three federal court judges ruled unanimously in favor of the government’s decision to revoke the world number one’s visa for a second time.

Djokovic, who is unvaccinated but arrived in Melbourne with a medical exemption ahead of the Australian Open, had won his first legal battle against the decision to cancel his visa upon arrival.

However, that triggered the personal intervention of Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke into the case, with the government arguing that Djokovic’s continued presence could excite anti-vaccine sentiments among the local population.

In announcing the decision to dismiss Djokovic’s appeal on Sunday, Chief Justice James Allsop said the judges did not reflect on “the merits or wisdom of the decision,” but rather whether it was “irrational or legally unreasonable.”

More reasoning behind the decision will be provided in a live-streamed court session on Thursday at 05:15 GMT (16:15 local time in Melbourne), when Allsop will read out the details, according to Reuters.

Djokovic had expressed his disappointment following Sunday’s ruling but said he would “respect” the decision.

The 34-year-old star flew out of Melbourne later the same day, arriving in Serbia to a hero’s welcome on Monday after transiting in Dubai.

Djokovic could face a three-year ban from re-entering Australia unless the authorities deem there are “compelling reasons” for him to be allowed to return.

The saga deprived Djokovic of the chance to defend his Australian Open title – an honor he has won a record nine times previously.

The Serbian star was also denied the opportunity of a record 21st Grand Slam overall – which would move him one ahead of rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time stakes.   

Compounding Djokovic’s woes, his participation at the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland-Garros was cast in doubt this week after the French parliament approved a new Covid vaccine passport to enter public places.

The French Sports Ministry confirmed that, as things stand, the law would apply to foreign athletes arriving for major events such as Roland-Garros, but noted that the situation could change before the tournament gets underway on May 22.  

Just as he was in Melbourne, Djokovic is the defending champion at the French clay-court showpiece.