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Sports Verdict soon in Djokovic's deportation case in Australia

07:31  16 january  2022
07:31  16 january  2022 Source:   msn.com

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic spends religious day in detention

  Top-ranked Novak Djokovic spends religious day in detention Regardless of who made an error on the visa or the vaccination waiver or whatever, the reality Friday for tennis No. 1 Novak Djokovic was spending one of his important religious holidays in an Australian detention hotel working on his challenge against deportation. Djokovic has been receiving calls from Serbia, including from his parents and the president, hoping to boost his spirits. A priest from the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne sought permission from immigration authorities to visit the nine-time Australian Open champion to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A court hearing for tennis star Novak Djokovic’s appeal against deportation in Australia ended Sunday and a verdict was expected within hours.

  Verdict soon in Djokovic's deportation case in Australia © Provided by The Canadian Press

Federal Court Chief Justice James Allsop said he and two fellow judges hoped to reach a verdict later Sunday. The top-ranked male tennis player needs to win the appeal to defend his Australian Open title in play that begins on Monday.

The Australian government cancelled Djokovic's visa on Friday due to issues surrounding his stance against COVID-19 vaccination.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Will he stay or will he go? Djokovic's hearing looms large

  Will he stay or will he go? Djokovic's hearing looms large After four nights in an Australian immigration detention hotel, Novak Djokovic will get his day in court Monday in a deportation case that has polarized opinions and elicited heartfelt support for the top-ranked tennis star in his native Serbia. Djokovic had his visa canceled after arriving at Melbourne airport last week when Australian border officials ruled that he didn’t meet the criteria for an exemption to an entry requirement that all non-citizens be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. His lawyers have since filed court papers in his challenge against deportation from Australia that show Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 last month and recovered.

Novak Djokovic returned to court on Sunday to fight an attempt to deport him because of what a government minister described as a perception that the top-ranked tennis player was a “talisman of a community of anti-vaccination sentiment.”

EXPLAINER: How will Australian visa ruling impact Djokovic?

  EXPLAINER: How will Australian visa ruling impact Djokovic? WELLINGTON, New Zealand — As Novak Djokovic awaits a final decision on whether his visa will be revoked, all eyes have turned to Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. He has to decide whether he will overturn the decision of a federal judge, who ruled Djokovic’s visa should be reinstated because he was unfairly treated by officials at the border. Hawke has discretion to revoke Djokovic’s visa but has taken longer than expected to reach a decision which has legal, political, sporting and diplomatic consequences. © Provided by The Canadian Press ____ WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Whatever Hawke decides, it’s unlikely to be the last word.

Three Federal Court judges hope to hear the entire case in a single day so that the men’s No. 1-ranked tennis player and nine-time Australian Open champion might begin on Monday his title defense at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year.

Djokovic spent Saturday night in an immigration detention hotel after he and his lawyers met with immigration officials earlier in the day. Television footage showed the 34-year-old Serb wearing a face mask as he sat in a vehicle near the hotel Sunday morning.

Double-fault: Visa revoked again, Djokovic faces deportation

  Double-fault: Visa revoked again, Djokovic faces deportation MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic faces deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for a second time, the latest twist in the ongoing saga over whether the No. 1-ranked tennis player will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated for COVID-19. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said Friday he used his ministerial discretion to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds — just three days before play begins at the Australian Open, where Djokovic has won a record nine of his 20 Grand Slam titles.

He is permitted to leave the hotel to spend Sunday in his lawyers’ offices, under the guard of two immigration officials, while the challenge is heard via a video conference.

Djokovic spent four nights confined to a hotel near downtown Melbourne before being released last Monday when he won a court challenge on procedural grounds against his first visa cancellation.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the visa, which was originally revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport on Jan. 5.

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

On Sunday, Federal Chief Justice James Allsop gave his reasons for rejecting Hawke’s argument that the case only warranted a hearing by a single judge.

Allsop cited Hawke’s own words that the issues behind his decision to cancel the visa “go to the very preservation of life and health of many members of the community.”

Report: Djokovic back in immigration detention in Australia

  Report: Djokovic back in immigration detention in Australia MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic was reported to be back in immigration detention Saturday after his legal challenge to avoid being deported from Australia for being unvaccinated for COVID-19 was moved to a higher court. A Federal Court hearing has been scheduled for Sunday, a day before the men’s No. 1-ranked tennis player and nine-time Australian Open champion was due to begin his title defense at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year. Police closed down a lane behind the building where Djokovic’s lawyers are based and two vehicles exited the building mid-afternoon local time on Saturday.

A verdict of three judges is far less likely to be appealed than the decision of a single judge.

Djokovic could not appeal a decision made on Sunday or Monday in time to compete in the Australian Open, Allsop said.

Lawyers for Djokovic filed documents in court that revealed Hawke had stated that the tennis star “is perceived by some as a talisman of a community of anti-vaccination sentiment.”

TIMELINE: Djokovic's failed bid to play in Australian Open

  TIMELINE: Djokovic's failed bid to play in Australian Open Novak Djokovic’s attempt to play in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19 came to an end when a court upheld a government minister's rejection of his visa. The unanimous ruling from three Federal Court judges in Melbourne on Sunday came the day before Djokovic was scheduled to begin his title defense at a Grand Slam tournament he’s won a record nine times. The Australian government twice canceled a visa held by the 34-year-old from Serbia and Djokovic’s lawyers appealed twice.

Australia has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world.

The minister said Djokovic’s presence in Australia may be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”

The Health Department advised that Djokovic was a “low” risk of transmitting COVID-19 and a “very low” risk of transmitting the disease at the Australian Open.

The minister cited comments Djokovic made in April 2020 that he was “opposed to vaccination” and wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine to compete.

Djokovic’s lawyers argued that the minister provided no evidence that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may “foster anti-vaccination sentiment.”

Djokovic lands in Serbia as questions arise over French Open

  Djokovic lands in Serbia as questions arise over French Open BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Novak Djokovic returned home Monday after being thwarted from defending his Australian Open title only to face a new predicament: He could be barred from the French Open this year, too, if he’s still not vaccinated against COVID-19. A plane carrying the No. 1-ranked player touched down in his native Serbia, closing at least the first chapter in a dizzying drama that has resonance in the world of elite sports, Australia'sA plane carrying the No. 1-ranked player touched down in his native Serbia, closing at least the first chapter in a dizzying drama that has resonance in the world of elite sports, Australia's pandemic politics and the polarized debate over the coronavirus shots.

Hundreds of activists held a peaceful rally outside the Melbourne Park complex that hosts the Australian Open, and planned another for Monday.

“We’re at Rod Laver Arena to support Novak. He’s won nine (Australian Open) titles here. Hopefully this will be No. 10 -- if he can get out of quarantine and get his visa back,” said Harrison McLean, one of the rally organizers. “We’re a peaceful movement, here to raise awareness and support everyone’s freedom of choice.”

Sydney-based immigration lawyer Simon Jeans said he was surprised that Djokovic was granted a visa at all because his COVID-19 infection last month would not have exempted him from Australia’s strict rules that foreign visitors need to be vaccinated unless there are sound medical reasons that they can’t be.

“The unanswered question is if Djokovic was such a threat to good order, why grant him a visa” in November? Jeans asked. “This is a high-risk strategy. It’s going to be much harder for the minister to convince three judges that what he did was in the public interest.”

Djokovic, who has won the last three Australian Open titles, is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam singles title. He is currently tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most by a man in history.

In a post on social media Wednesday that constituted his most extensive public comments yet on the episode, Djokovic blamed his agent for checking the wrong box on his travel document, calling it “a human error and certainly not deliberate.”

Djokovic's deportation exposes Australian border debate

  Djokovic's deportation exposes Australian border debate MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Weary after two years of some of the harshest COVID-19 border restrictions in the world, many Australians wanted Novak Djokovic kicked out of their country for traveling to a tennis tournament in their country without being vaccinated. But the backdrop to the government's tough line on the defending Australian Open champion — and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s description of the expulsion as a “decision to keep our borders strong” — dates to nearly a decade ago. It also shines a light on Australia's complicated, and strongly criticized, immigration and border policies.

In that same post, Djokovic said he went ahead with an interview and a photo shoot with a French newspaper in Serbia despite knowing he’d tested positive for COVID-19. Djokovic has been attempting to use what he says was a positive test taken on Dec. 16 to justify a medical exemption that would allow him to avoid the vaccine requirement on the grounds that he already had COVID-19.

In canceling Djokovic’s visa, Hawke said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The episode has touched a nerve in Australia, and particularly in Victoria state, where locals went through more than 260 days of lockdowns during the worst of the pandemic.

Australia faces a massive surge in virus cases driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant. On Friday, the nation reported 130,000 new cases, including nearly 35,000 in Victoria state. Although many infected people aren’t getting as sick as they did in previous outbreaks, the surge is still putting severe strain on the health system and disrupting supply chains.

Djokovic’s supporters in Serbia have been dismayed by the visa cancellations. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused the Australian government of “harassing” and “maltreating” Djokovic and asked whether Morrison’s government is just trying to score political points ahead of upcoming elections.

“Why didn’t you return him back right away, or tell him it was impossible to get a visa?” Vucic asked the Australian authorities in a social media address. “Why are you harassing him and why are you maltreating not only him, but his family and an entire nation that is free and proud.”

Everyone at the Australian Open is required to be vaccinated.

According to Grand Slam rules, if Djokovic is forced to pull out of the tournament before the order of play for Day 1 is announced, No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev would move into Djokovic’s spot in the bracket.

If Djokovic withdraws from the tournament after Monday’s schedule is released, he would be replaced in the field by what’s known as a “lucky loser” — a player who loses in the qualifying tournament but gets into the main draw because of another player’s exit before competition has started.

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AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed to this report.

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More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Rod Mcguirk , The Associated Press

Djokovic's deportation exposes Australian border debate .
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Weary after two years of some of the harshest COVID-19 border restrictions in the world, many Australians wanted Novak Djokovic kicked out of their country for traveling to a tennis tournament in their country without being vaccinated. But the backdrop to the government's tough line on the defending Australian Open champion — and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s description of the expulsion as a “decision to keep our borders strong” — dates to nearly a decade ago. It also shines a light on Australia's complicated, and strongly criticized, immigration and border policies.

usr: 0
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