The 20-time Major champion Novak Djokovic is still doing his best to stay in Australia and compete at the season's first Major in ten days. After a lot of drama in the past 24 hours, Novak launched a last-minute bid in the Federal Circuit Court to stop the federal government from deporting him from Down Under.
Novak's lawyers appeared in an online hearing on Thursday after his visa got canceled upon arrival in Melbourne, and the nine-time Australian Open champion will spend the next couple of days at the Park Hotel in Carlton in the immigration detention.
Doing their best to keep Djokovic in Australia, his lawyers secured an interim injunction that prevents authorities from deporting the world's leading player until Monday and a more substantive hearing. Judge Kelly stated that he would not rush any decisions, and he also asked if the hotel had a tennis court.
According to the federal government, the approval for the visas was an automated process, up to individuals to prove their vaccination status or valid exemptions on arrival in Australia. That's where Novak's problems started, and he spent many hours in the airport area, at some moments even without his phone.
Djokovic received a letter of support from Tennis Australia, hoping to enter the country with a "medical exemption" after not being vaccinated. Federal health authorities told Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley on several occasions in the last couple of months that people who were not vaccinated and had contracted the coronavirus in the past six months would not be granted quarantine-free travel to Australia.
Novak Djokovic will spend the next three days at the Park Hotel in Carlton.
That gathered doubts over Djokovic's exemption to compete at the Australian Open, given by the Victorian government and Tennis Australia. According to some sources, Djokovic based his exemption on contracting the coronavirus in the past six months.
Still, the Department of Health stated already in November that people who have previously had the coronavirus and not received a vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated. Novak Djokovic's case should be cleared in the next couple of days, and the Serb still hopes to lead the draw at the season's first Major in Melbourne from January 17.
"Rules are rules, and there are no special cases. I want to thank the border officers for doing their job. It's simply a matter of following the rules," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.