Australian Open: Djokovic hearing gets under way in Melbourne

By Sports Desk January 15, 2022

The end of the Novak Djokovic saga is set to be settled on Sunday after a procedural hearing began in Melbourne.

Djokovic, who returned to detention on Saturday as per a pre-agreed court arrangement, is fighting to be able to compete at the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.

A procedural hearing, where the matter was formally transferred from the Federal Circuit Court to the Federal Court of Australia, started at 09:30 local time (22:30 GMT).

Djokovic's lawyers secured an early procedural victory when it was decided the case should be heard by a full court, consisting of Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O'Callaghan.

That reduces the avenues for any possible appeal against the court's decision. Stephen Lloyd, who was appearing on behalf of immigration minister Alex Hawke, had indicated his preference for a single judge.

A central tenet of the case is set to be Hawke's assertion that Djokovic should be removed from the country "on health and good order grounds" and "in the public interest".

 

In submissions to the court issued by Djokovic's lawyers, Hawke is shown to say that he accepted the world number one recently tested positive for COVID-19.

However, Hawke adds that: "I am concerned that his presence in Australia, given his well-known stance on vaccination, creates a risk of strengthening the anti-vaccination sentiment of a minority of the Australian community."

The nine-time Australian Open champion's visa was revoked for a second time on Friday despite Djokovic winning his initial case last Monday.

His lawyers began their argument shortly after the hearing started, with Chief Justice Allsop having suggested that due to quality of the written submissions, both side's arguments would be heard by lunchtime local time.

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