The decision on the Australia visa of the world's best tennis player Novak Djokovic is approaching.

The three judges of the Federal Court of Justice in Australia have been hearing the lawyers of both sides since the early morning: Here the athlete's legal team, who have now twice successfully opposed his deportation.

There the lawyer representing Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke.

After six days of testing on Friday afternoon, he had withdrawn the Serb's visa for the second time.

A decision should be made today.

Christopher Hein

Business correspondent for South Asia/Pacific based in Singapore.

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In the early afternoon, the three judges retired to deliberate.

They hope to reach a verdict on the Australian evening.

Djokovic's lawyer urged that if this were positive for his client, Djokovich had to be released immediately from detention pending deportation.

If the verdict is no longer successful today, Monday morning would remain.

Around 4 p.m. Australian time – 6 a.m. German time – the Australian Open want to publish the schedule for tomorrow Monday.

Defending champion Djokovic is seeded number one.

Despite the chaos in his preparation for the tournament, the world number one tennis player is determined to play the tournament.

If he were to win his tenth title there, he would hold a record of 21 Grand Slams - more than any other tennis player.

"The applicant is politely asking for an urgent hearing so that if the decision is positive, the applicant can attend the Australian Open," his attorney Nicholas Wood said in a statement.

Time is running out

The Djokovic team had already spoken of the urgency of the decision in the morning. After all, the appearance of the 34-year-old in Melbourne was the only reason for his visa application. With the change between his self-chosen place of residence in the city and the deportation hotel, the athlete should now have a noticeable training deficit. The world-renowned Chief Justice of Australia's Federal Supreme Court, James Allsop, accepted the time pressure from the start. The 68-year-old left no doubt that he was aiming for a decision from the three judges this Sunday. An appeal is then no longer possible. Almost 90,000 people followed the live broadcast of the hearing.

The government lawyer, Stephen Lloyd, addressed the role of sports stars as advertising figures: "People constantly use high-level athletes to spread ideas and promote their causes." Of course, this also applies to Djokovic: "He is on many levels a role model, a role model.

His stay in Australia makes people aware of his anti-vaccination stance - it would pose a risk to the health of Australians," the lawyer said, referring to a visa.

“This view stems not only from his comments but also from the fact that he remains unvaccinated to date.

And that's his own choice." He later added, "He's become an anti-vaccination icon."

Alleged threat to Australia

The tennis star's views on the subject of corona and vaccinations are dangerous for the country and its people, also in view of the omicron wave that has been sweeping Australia for weeks. Because Djokovic, for example, also "ignored protection against the transmission of Corona - for example when he took off a mask during an interview, although he was infected". Lloyd was referring to an incident in Belgrade for which Djokovic apologized mid-week.

Djokovic's lawyer Nicholas Wood had previously tried to dissect the minister's reasoning point by point. He set two highlights: On the one hand, the minister assumes that the Serbs will take a stance against vaccinations - which Lloyd would later confirm. However, Djokovic's lawyer explained: "It is simply completely wrong to say that Mr. Djokovic is a leading figure for opponents of vaccination." The Australian minister could neither know nor prove this.

More important from his point of view was that Hawke feared that Djokovic's stay in the country would lead to "anti-vaccination sentiment", which would then pose a threat to Australia. "There is no evidence that my client playing tennis here for two weeks would increase anti-vaccination sentiment," Wood said. And: “The minister has never checked whether an expulsion does not also contain enormous risks for the public. It's irrational." The attorney continued, "It's perverted in its own way to take such a narrow view."

While Australia's most respected judges were still trying under great time pressure to avert further damage from the Djokovic case with a quick arbitral award, Victoria's Prime Minister Dan Andrews said on Sunday morning: "Just get vaccinated, Novak.

Then everyone's time wouldn't be wasted over the whole thing.”

Andrews' own role in the visa affair, that of his government and that of Tennis Australia still have to be worked out in the next few weeks.

After all, when he entered the country, Djokovic had official clearance certificates that state officials had issued him against the instructions of the Australian Minister of Health.

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