Tennis star to return to detention ahead of weekend visa battle

The case will go to federal court and be heard by Judge David O’Callaghan this weekend, with the Australian government agreeing not to extradite Djokovic until any ruling is made.

Novak Djokovic attends a training session at Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open. (Eddie Jim)

But tonight at least he will be under arrest.

He will meet Australian Border Force officials who will be formally arrested this morning – in a secret location to avoid the “media circus” – and will be interviewed before being allowed to join his legal team in their offices under the supervision of two ABF officers.

In a late-night hearing before Judge Anthony Kelly of the Federal Circuit and Family Court on Friday, Djokovic’s attorney Nick Wood SC criticized the timing of Mr Hook’s decision and said every minute was “extremely precious” to the world’s No. 1 men’s tennis, which as the seed The former will play their first game at the Australian Open on Monday.

“We’re where we are because of the time it took the Secretary,” said Mr. Wood.

“We are moving as fast as we can.”

In a preview of what will be discussed before Judge O’Callaghan, Wood revealed that one of the reasons for Djokovic’s visa revocation was concern about Serbia’s “anti-extremist sentiment” if he was allowed to stay in Australia.

Wood called the reason “manifestly irrational”, saying the decision did not take into account whether expulsion of Djokovic from the country would have a similar effect.

“The minister does not consider the possibility of inciting anti-extremism sentiments unless (Djokovic) is present,” he said.

Novak Djokovic fans outside the immigration detention hotel where Serbian Novak Djokovic is being held in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, January 10, 2022.
Lawyers have revealed that one of the reasons for Djokovic’s visa cancellation was concern about Serbian “anti-extremist sentiment” if he was allowed to stay in Australia, describing the reason as “manifestly irrational”. (AFP)

In his decision shortly before 6 p.m. on Friday, Hook said he had canceled Djokovic’s visa “for reasons of health and order, on the grounds that it is in the public interest.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the minister’s decision, saying: “Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic and they rightly expect the outcome of those sacrifices to be protected.”

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