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'What more could this man have done'? – Judge sympathises with Novak Djokovic during hearing

The judge hearing Novak Djokovic’s appeal over his cancelled visa has appeared sympathetic to the tennis star’s plight as his legal team made their arguments in Australia.

Djokovic is currently attempting to stop his deportation so he can participate in the Australian Open, which is due to begin in a week’s time.

Nick Wood, who is representing the world number one, said Djokovic declared that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons before travelling to Melbourne.

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Djokovic family address rally

As well as providing a medical exemption document from Tennis Australia, another medical exemption was given by a separate panel of experts established by Victoria’s state government.

Early on in Monday’s proceedings, Judge Anthony Kelly said: “The point I am agitated about is ‘what more could this man have done?'”

Mr Wood went on to argue that Djokovic had received a response indicating that he met the requirements for visa-free travel – and “any reasonable person would assume they had ticked every box”.

The lawyer also pointed to guidance from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation stating that – if a coronavirus infection is confirmed through a PCR test – vaccination can be deferred for up to six months.

More on Novak Djokovic

Court documents suggest Djokovic initially tested positive for COVID on 16 December, but the government argues that “there is no suggestion” Djokovic ended up having “acute major medical illness” at this time.

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‘Mr Djokovic is not being held captive’

Djokovic’s lawyers have also alleged that he was treated unfairly after arriving at Melbourne Airport by Australian Border Force officials.

The tennis star had struggled to contact his lawyers and Tennis Australia because it was the middle of the night.

Although he was given until 8.30am to establish contact, the court heard that the 34-year-old was woken up at 6am and pressured to respond “because it was better for him if they made the decision right away”.

The court hearing was significantly disrupted by technical issues with the livestream, which appeared to buckle under pressure as vast numbers of people attempted to tune in.

Following an adjournment for lunch, lawyers representing the Australian government are set to make their arguments.


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