Novak Djokovic’s lawyers have submitted documents arguing against the cancellation of the world No. 1’s visa. According to Times correspondent Stuart Fraser, Djokovic’s lawyers believe that canceling the Serb’s visa would be against Australia’s “economic interests”.
The world number 1’s visa was canceled for a second time by the Australian government on Friday. Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement it was in the “public interest” to do so.
The case will be decided in court again, with a hearing scheduled for Sunday. Lawyers for the Serbs presented evidence on Saturday arguing against the cancellation of the visa and Stuart Fraser provided a brief overview of the information provided by Nicholas Wood and co.
According to Fraser, Djokovic’s legal team argued that if their client could not play in Melbourne, it would “jeopardize the viability of Australia continuing to host the Australian Open”.
“One of Djokovic’s arguments against canceling his visa is that ‘cancelling Mr. Djokovic’s visa would harm Australia’s economic interests and jeopardize the viability of Australia which continues to host Australian Open,” Fraser tweeted.
Wood had claimed during a ruling hearing on Friday that Hawke wanted to deport the world No. 1 solely on the grounds that his presence might “stir up anti-vaccination sentiment” in the country.
Documents submitted as evidence support Wood’s claim that the Immigration Minister believed Djokovic’s presence in Australia would motivate “an increased number of people deciding not to receive a booster shot”, which could strain on the country’s health system.
The reporter also drew attention to an old quote from Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia. Tiley had made it clear in December that if Djokovic traveled to Melbourne for the first Major of the year he would either be fully vaccinated or given a valid medical exemption.
“If Novak Djokovic shows up at the Australian Open, he will either be vaccinated or given a medical exemption,” Tiley said at the time.
The Serb hasn’t been vaccinated against COVID-19, however, and his medical exemption has gone under the scanner.
Novak Djokovic’s participation in the Australian Open will be decided on Sunday
If the Serbian does not have his visa reinstated at Sunday’s hearing, he will not be allowed to defend his title at the 2022 Australian Open. He will also miss the opportunity to take the lead in the Grand Prix race. Slam for the first time in his career.
He is currently due to face compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in his opener on Monday.
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The world No. 1 is the most successful player in Australian Open history, having won the title nine times.