Novak Djokovic only has a few more hours to wait to find out if he can hit the ball at the Australian Open.
The final legal battle between the world number one in tennis and the Australian government, which intends to expel him from the country, was held this Sunday before the Federal Court of Australia in Melbourne.
The three judges of the Court heard the arguments of the player's representatives and those of the government for several hours, before retiring to deliberate.
The decision is expected later in the day.
Djoko plays big
Allowed to leave the detention center where he was placed on Saturday, Djokovic followed the hearing online from the offices of his lawyers. A “final” which could have long-term repercussions for the career of the 34-year-old Serb. On the eve of the first Australian Open racket where “Nole” hopes to win a record 21st Grand Slam title, the interim hearing must decide whether the player should be immediately sent home and banned from Australian territory. for three years, or if on the contrary he can play the tournament.
In his conclusions filed Saturday before the Court, the Minister of Immigration Alex Hawke maintained that the presence of Djokovic in the country "is likely to represent a health risk".
He says it encourages "anti-vaccination sentiment" and could deter Australians from getting their booster shots as the Omicron variant spreads rapidly across the country.
The presence in Australia of the champion could even "lead to an upsurge in civil unrest", added the minister.
Although he described the risk of Djokovic himself infecting Australians as “negligible”, the minister considered that his past “disregard” for health rules set a bad example.
An “illogical”, “irrational” and “unreasonable” expulsion
Sunday before the Court, the lawyers of "Djoko" qualified the detention of their client and his possible expulsion of "illogical", "irrational" and "unreasonable".
The government "doesn't know what Mr. Djokovic's views are right now," lawyer Nick Wood pleaded, saying his client has never publicly supported the anti-vaccination movement.
Government lawyer Stephen Lloyd responded that the champion's failure to be vaccinated nearly two years into the pandemic and his repeated disregard of health rules, including failing to isolate when he knew he was infected, constituted sufficient proof of his position.
The decision of the three Federal Court judges will be virtually impossible for both the Australian government and Djokovic to challenge.
This is the second time that the Serb has been subject to deportation proceedings.
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A fault ?