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Djokovic’s appeal against visa cancellation will go to higher court – Twin Cities

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By JOHN PYE and ROD McGUIRK

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Novak Djokovic’s attempt to play at the Australian Open despite not being immunized for COVID-19 moved to a higher court on Saturday as the No. 1 player appealed the cancellation. second visa.

Djokovic was not seen on the online feed available to the public during his 15-minute procedural hearing, which begins just two days before he is scheduled to play his first match of the year. 2022 at Melbourne Park.

Judge David O’Callaghan ruled that lawyers representing Djokovic and the government would need to submit written arguments late Saturday and schedule a further hearing for Sunday morning.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke blocked the 34-year-old Serb’s visa, whose original visa was revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport last week. But it was reinstated on Monday by a judge on a procedural basis, as Djokovic was not allowed to have an attorney with him at the airport.

As the latest appeal began on Friday night, Djokovic was allowed to remain at liberty, but the plan was for him to effectively return to immigration detention when he met with Australian Border Force officials at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Deportation from Australia could result in a three-year ban from returning to the country, although that may be waived, depending on the circumstances.

Djokovic has a record nine Australian Open titles, including three in a row in the past, part of his 20 Grand Slam titles. He is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer the most by a man in history.

Djokovic has admitted that his travel statement was incorrect as it did not show that he had visited many countries in the two weeks before arriving in Australia.

In a social media post Wednesday, forming his most widespread comments yet on the entire episode, Djokovic blamed his agent for ticking the wrong box on the form, called it “human error and certainly not intentional”.

In that same post, Djokovic said he continued to interview and take photos with a French newspaper in Serbia despite knowing he had tested positive for COVID-19 two days earlier. Djokovic tried to use what he said was a positive test taken on December 16 to justify a medical exemption that would allow him to meet the vaccine requirement.

Hawke said he had canceled the visa for “good health and good standing, on the basis that it was in the public interest.” His statement added that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government was “resolutely committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The main basis for opposing Hawke’s decision, according to the athlete’s attorney, was that it was not based on the health risk Djokovic could pose by not being vaccinated, but rather on how he could be harmed. anti-vaxx people know.

Morrison himself also welcomed the fact that Djokovic was awaiting deportation. The entire episode has been deeply emotional in Australia, and especially in Victoria, where locals have experienced hundreds of days of lockdown during the worst of the pandemic and adult vaccination rates. is more than 90%.

Australia is currently facing a large increase in virus cases due to the highly transmissible omicron variant. On Friday, the nation reported 130,000 new cases, including nearly 35,000 in Victoria. While many infected people are not getting sick as in previous outbreaks, the outbreak is still putting a severe strain on the health system, with more than 4,400 people hospitalized. It also causes disruption to the workplace and the supply chain.

“This pandemic has been extremely difficult for all Australians, but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods. … Australians have made a lot of sacrifices during this pandemic, and they really do expect the results of those sacrifices to be protected,” said Morrison. “This is what the Minister is doing in this action today.”

Everyone at the Australian Open – including the players, their supporters and spectators – is required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Djokovic is unvaccinated and has applied for a medical exemption on the grounds that he said he tested positive for COVID-19 in December.

That exemption has been approved by the Victorian and Tennis Australia state governments, apparently allowing him to obtain a visa to travel. But the Australian Border Force denied his waiver and canceled his visa when he landed in the country on January 5.

Djokovic spent four nights in an immigrant detention hotel before a judge overturned that decision. That ruling gave Djokovic the freedom to move around Australia and he still trains every day at Melbourne Park.

“It’s not a good situation for anyone,” said Andy Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and five-time runner-up at the Australian Open. “Just wanted it to be clearly resolved. I think it would be good for everyone if that was the case. Looks like it’s been going on for quite some time now – not great for tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak. ”

Under Grand Slam rules, if Djokovic is forced to withdraw from the tournament before the order to play for Day 1 is announced, 5th seed Rublev will replace Djokovic in the final.

If Djokovic withdraws from the tournament after Monday’s schedule is announced, he will be replaced by a so-called “lucky loser” – a player who lost the qualifying tournament but was entered the main draw because another player dropped out before the game had started.

And if Djokovic competes in one match – or more – and is later told he can’t enter the tournament anymore, his next opponent will simply advance to the next round and will be empty. to replace.

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Other tennis APs: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

https://www.twincities.com/2022/01/14/djokovics-appeal-of-canceled-visa-moves-to-higher-court/ Djokovic’s appeal against visa cancellation will go to higher court – Twin Cities

Yasmin Harisha

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