Sunday’s hearing focused on the tennis star’s views on vaccination.
Novak Djokovic has lost his Federal Court fight to stay in Australia. His application has been dismissed and the government’s decision has been upheld.
The Serbian tennis star had been waiting for three judges to determine whether he would be able to stay in the country to launch his title-defending bid at the Australian Open on Monday. The court had adjourned on Sunday for the judges to deliberate.
Djokovic was scheduled to play on Monday, with his first-round match against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic for the evening session, not before 7 p.m. local time.
The world’s No. 1 tennis player asked the court to reinstate his visa, which was canceled for the second time on Friday.
Both sides made their submissions and replies during Sunday’s hearing. The debate focused on Djokovic’s view on vaccination and whether it constitutes a public health threat.
The Djokovic legal team argued that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who cancelled the visa, misinterpreted media reports about the tennis star’s stance on vaccination. Djokovic’s lawyer Nick Wood said there’s a lack of evidence to support the claim that Djokovic’s presence in Australia could stoke anti-vaccination sentiment.
“Not a single line of evidence in the material before the minister provided any … foundation whatsoever for the proposition of the mere presence of Mr. Djokovic in Australia … may somehow, to use the minister’s expression, foster anti-vaccination sentiment,” said Wood.
The immigration minister’s lawyer, Stephen Lloyd, said there is clear evidence of Djokovic’s views on vaccination and that by staying in Australia it will encourage opposition to inoculation. Lloyd said Djokovic has become “an icon for anti-vaccination groups.”
“That he’s still unvaccinated reflects a choice on his part or remain unvaccinated when he could be vaccinated,” Lloyd said.