If the Australian Government decides to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa for not being vaccinated against covid-19, the world’s number one tennis player can go back to court to defend his case, but in the worst case scenario, he will have to abandon Australia and the Open.
The organizers of the tournament included this Thursday Djokovic in the group draw, but Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke can still cancel the tennis player’s visa and expel him for posing a risk to public health.
Hawke is also weighing the circumstances in which the Serbian player admitted having given false information in his declaration of entry into the country and having broken the rules of the pandemic in Serbia.
Upon arrival in Australia, Djokovic said that he had not traveled in the previous 14 days, but the truth is that he had moved from Serbia to Spain, while in his country of origin he granted an interview to a French media knowing that it was positive of the covid-19.
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on January 5 with a medical exemption that allowed him to play in the Australian Open without being vaccinated, although later the Customs authorities canceled his visa and detained him until a court agreed with the tennis player last Monday .
POSSIBLE RETURN TO COURTS
The media soap opera took another turn on Wednesday when Djokovic admitted on his social networks that his representatives made “human errors” in their travel statement and also an “error of judgment” when attending the interview with L’Equipe on December 18 in Belgrade.
These incidents increased the likelihood that he would be deported, although his lawyers could appeal this decision to the courts, which can rule in favor or against the player.
Australian journalist and radio host Neil Breen indicated on Twitter that if the minister approves the deportation, the case could be heard in court next week.
“(…) he could be expelled in the middle of the tournament if the court confirms the minister’s decision. Fun times are ahead,” added Breen, referring to Djokovic, who aspires to win the Open, which is played between the 17th and 30th. January Melbourne.
The Serbian tennis player, known for his criticism of mandatory vaccinations, could start playing the tournament while the judicial process is being held in parallel, but could not finish the championship if a court confirms the hypothetical cancellation of the visa.
THE SCENARIOS OF THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN
According to Brett Graham, tennis expert at local network Nine, there are two main scenarios as of today if Djokovic has to leave the Open.
If he retires before the order of play is published next Monday, he will be replaced by the fifth seed, Andrey Rublev, who in turn will be replaced by Gael Monflis, and this by Alexander Bublik.
In the hypothetical event that he retires before the publication of the scheduled order of play on Sunday, then his place in the draw will be filled by the player who lost in the last qualifying round.
The pressure on Hawke’s shoulders is great because a delay would further disrupt the Australian Open, where Djokovic seeks to win his tenth title and establish himself as the tennis player with the most Great Slams in history (21), for ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Melbourne court ruling on Monday that allowed Djokovic’s release was a major setback for the Scott Morrison government, who staunchly defends the country’s tough immigration policy and is seeking reelection this year.
Australia is fighting a rebound in covid-19 cases, which have gone from less than 2,000 infections a day in December to almost 150,000 this week, amid shortages of products due to infections among essential workers.