Novak Djokovic’s fate in the Australian Open will be decided at an appeal hearing on Monday morning in Australia after an attempt by the Australian government to have the case delayed to Wednesday was rejected. The government wanted to push the hearing back by 48 hours but a court order by judge Andrew Kelly said it had been “refused without prejudice”.
The court case will proceed at 10am Australian time on Monday – 11pm on Sunday evening in Britain.
Mr Djokovic, who is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slam titles, may be unable to defend his Australian Open title after his visa to enter was cancelled.
The tennis star was blocked at the border and told he had not met the required entry rules, and will face deportation if he loses the case.
The case will centre around whether Australia’s government and border force made errors in their handling of Mr Djokovic’s visa, which resulted in its revocation ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.
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Mr Djokovic, 34, claims he met all the requirements for the visa because he had contracted COVID-19 in December.
But the Australian government says that the rule of allowing those who have previously had the virus only applies to Australian residents re-entering the country, not visitors, and those who enter must be vaccinated.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said in a news conference on Thursday that Djokovic “didn’t have a valid medical exemption” to the vaccination requirement for arrivals.
Mr Djokovic has not made his vaccination status public, but he has previously expressed resistance to the coronavirus vaccine.
His rival Rafael Nadal said: “Of course, I don’t like the situation that is happening. In some way, I feel sorry for him.
“But at the same time, he knew the conditions since a lot of months ago, so he makes his own decision.
“Seems some rough situation, but at the end of the day, the only thing that I can say is we have been going through very challenging [times] and a lot of families have been suffering a lot during the last two years with all the pandemic.”
He continued: “From my point of view, that’s the only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people say that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine.”