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- Serbian tennis player
Novak Djokovic’s battle to compete in the Australian Open has taken another turn after his visa was cancelled for a second time.
After four days of deliberation, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided to use his personal powers and reimpose the penalty on the world number one after it was overturned by a judge on Monday.
But the parties have already been back in court and a resolution to this saga will not come until Sunday at the earliest.
Here, the PA news agency answers the key questions regarding the situation and looks at what happens next.
Why has the decision been taken?
Hawke cited “health and good order grounds” and said he believed it was in the public interest to send Djokovic home. The decision to overturn the initial revocation was made because the border force did not follow procedure rather than because the judge concluded they did not have grounds. Interestingly, Djokovic’s lawyer claimed Hawke’s call was based primarily on the potential to excite the anti-vax movement if the Serbian is allowed to stay.
What happens now?
Djokovic was not detained on Friday night but will be on Saturday morning before a meeting with immigration officials. He will then be able to spend time with his lawyers building a case before being taken to a detention hotel – possibly the Park again – for Saturday night ahead of the hearing on Sunday.
What are Djokovic’s chances?
His lawyers are seeking the same outcome as the first hearing but it will be more difficult because the grounds for a successful appeal are much narrower in this case. This hearing will be held in front of a different judge at the Federal Court of Australia.
Could he still play in the Australian Open?
The top halves of the #AusOpen men’s and women’s singles draws will be played on Monday.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 14, 2022
Theoretically yes. His first match against countryman Miomir Kecmanovic has been scheduled for Monday, meaning a successful appeal decided on Sunday would give him enough time. But even Djokovic would surely struggle to get himself in the right physical and mental state to compete at a grand slam given the events of the last week and a half.
What happens if he loses the appeal?
Djokovic would be deported and the Australian Open draw would need to be rejigged. Should the decision come before an order of play for Monday is announced – which is just about feasible – the seeds would be moved and fifth seed Andrey Rublev would take Djokovic’s place. Should it come after, a lucky loser would slot in, unbalancing the top section of the draw.
Are there other implications?
Yes. Should Djokovic be deported, he could be banned from entering Australia for three years, although that penalty can be waived.