Novak Djokovic going to court to halt Australia deportation

Novak Djokovic will be at center court Sunday in Australia — to face a panel of federal judges who will decide if he will be deported over failure to comply with Australia’s strict vaccination rules for COVID-19.

Djokovic, 34, is scheduled to appear in a Melbourne court at 9:30 am ( 4:30 pm Saturday EST) where his lawyers will appeal what they called “an irrational decision” to revoke his visa for a second time, a day before the opening of the Australian Open.

if Djokovic wins the tournament he would become the most successful tennis player in history with 21 Grand Slam titles.

If he loses the appeal, he faces deportation and a three year ban from entering the country.

The tennis ace is currently in detention at a Melbourne hotel.

Djokovic’s visa was first revoked on Jan. 6, shortly after he arrived in Melbourne. Border authorities said he had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” for a vaccine exemption. Djokovic, who tested positive for COVID twice, most recently in mid December, was detained at an immigration hotel until a judge overturned the revocation because border guards had not followed correct procedures.

Members of the media try to photograph Djokovic in the parking lot en route to detention.
Djokovic seen practicing in Melbourne on Jan. 12.
Novak Djokovic seen practices in Melbourne on Jan. 12.
Two cars transporting the tennis star seen on Jan. 15.
Djokovic is transported by car on Jan. 15.
AFP via Getty Images

But on Friday, Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke used executive powers to cancel the visa under Australia’s Migration Act, which allows authorities to deport anyone they deem a potential risk to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community.”

Hawke said that Djokovic’s presence Down Under “may foster anti-vaccination sentiment” and cause civil unrest.