Novak Djokovic’s legal team have criticised Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke after he cancelled the world No1’s visa three days before the start of the Australian Open, describing the decision as “patently irrational”.
Addressing an initial hearing as Djokovic appeals against the minister’s ruling, his lawyers suggested the decision was made because of concerns that the tennis star’s appearance at the Australian Open might stoke anti-vaccination feeling in the country, rather than solid legal grounds.
Djokovic’s team also called for a quick hearing which they hope to be concluded on Sunday, ahead of the tournament’s start on Monday, with the player set to play his opening match on either Monday or Tuesday evening in Melbourne. “We’re very concerned about time,” Djokovic’s lawyer Nicholas Wood told the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
The government’s representative at the hearing agreed to accept the accelerated timeline, and confirmed that Djokovic will not be detained – as he was for four days upon first arriving in Melbourne – until the appeal process is completed.
more to follow…