NOW: Djokovic detained ahead of Australia visa hearing

UniqueThis 16 Jan 14
Novak Djokovic of Serbia rests during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia on 14 January.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia rests during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia on 14 January. (Diego Fedele/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Tennis star Novak Djokovic will be detained again by Australian authorities Saturday before his case to stay in country is heard before the Federal Court. 

The decision was made during an emergency hearing before Judge Anthony Kelly in the Federal Circuit and Family Court on Friday, following Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time.

The tennis star will be interviewed by the Australian Border Force at 8 a.m. Saturday local time (4 p.m. ET Friday) at an undisclosed location “agreed between the parties” in the case.

At that point, Djokovic will be officially detained by two border force officials and escorted to his lawyers’ office while his case is heard in the Federal court. 

The location where Djokovic will be met by border officials will remain secret in order to keep the tennis star safe and prevent “a media circus.”

“We have a genuine concern about security and a potential media circus,” Djokovic’s barrister Nick Wood told the court when imploring Judge Kelly to allow Djokovic to be handed over to border officials in private. 

Novak Djokovic v Minister for Immigration, as the case file is known, was officially transferred from the Federal Circuit Court to the Federal Court of Australia late Friday night local time.

Justice David O’Callaghan will now oversee the case, with an initial hearing scheduled at 10:15 a.m. Saturday local time (6:15 p.m. ET Friday). 

Wood told the court that the Immigration Minister had used his personal power to cancel the 34-year-old’s visa based on grounds he would “excite anti-vax sentiment” should he remain in Australia, describing it as a “radically different approach” in the government’s argument. 

“The underlying new rationale is not a direct risk to others, it’s that Mr Djokovic being in Australia, in Melbourne in particular, by being here will excite anti-vax sentiment. That’s the point. A radically different approach,” Wood said. 


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