The tennis player Novak Djokovic was re-arrested and taken to the Melbourne Park Hotel, where he had held following the first cancellation of his visa upon his arrival in Melbourne, Australia. On Sunday at 9.30 a.m. (local time), an emergency court hearing will define whether or not the Serb will be able to play in the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, Jan. 17.
Djokovic won his first legal round against the Australian authorities, who intend to deport him. But the world No. 1 tennis player now faces a formidable challenge on Sunday in his second round when he will face a court that will define his future regarding whether or not he can remain in Australia, Reuters reported.
On Saturday, Djokovic was again detained by immigration after his legal challenge to avoid deportation from Australia for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 was moved to a higher court.
A hearing in the Federal Court of Australia is scheduled for Sunday, just a day before the nine-time Australian Open winner was due to begin his title defense.
Djokovic and his lawyers met with immigration officials on Saturday morning and, by mid-afternoon, Australian media reported that the tennis star was again detained.
Television footage showed the 34-year-old Serb wearing a face mask as he sat in a vehicle near an immigration detention hotel, known as Melbourne Park Hotel.
If the Federal Court upholds the appeal, it will allow Djokovic to attempt to win his 10th Australian Open and become the all-time, male leader with 21 Grand Slam titles, surpassing even the historic Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
However, if his appeal is dismissed, he will be unable to play in the Open and face the possibility of not being allowed to enter Australia for at least three years.
Djokovic’s case at center stage caused a real rift in the Tennis world.
Alex Hawke, Australia’s immigration minister, used his ministerial powers to cancel the tennis player’s visa again, arguing that: “The Morrison government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic,” alluding to Australia’s prime minister, as reported by ABC News on Jan. 14.
In this regard, Djokovic’s lawyer, Nick Wood, noted his concern about the impact of this new setback in light of the short time available.
“As things stand, Mr. Djokovic could be scheduled to play Monday night or Tuesday night … under those circumstances, we are very concerned about the timing,” Wood shared.
From a legal standpoint, Wood, along with his team of collaborators, does not accept that the sentiments argued by the immigration minister are a legitimate reason to deny the sports star a shot at a record 21 Grand Slam titles.