Novak Djokovic Detained in Australia Ahead of His Deportation Appeal

·3-min read
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic


Novak Djokovic is being detained in Australia ahead of a scheduled court hearing this weekend that will decide whether he can stay in the country and participate in the 2022 Australian Open.

The star athlete, 34, had his visa revoked by Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday, just three days before the 2022 Open is scheduled to begin.

The hearing is set for Sunday, and Djokovic's lawyers are appealing against what they called an "irrational" judgement, according to the BBC.

RELATED: Novak Djokovic's Visa Revoked by Australia's Immigration Minister, Faces Ban from Country for 3 Years

If the hearing is not decided in his favor, the Serbian tennis player faces deportation and a potential three-year ban from entry into the country.

After an online procedural hearing on Saturday, Djokovic's lawyers confirmed that he would spend the night in immigration detention in Melbourne, the BBC reported.

It is yet to be decided whether Sunday's hearing would be presided over by a single judge or a full court of three.

Djokovic — who has previously won the Australian Open a record nine times — is currently scheduled to play on Monday.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Sarah Stier/Getty

Minister Hawke said in a statement on Friday that he was canceling Djokovic's visa "on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so."

He assured that the government is "firmly committed to protecting Australia's borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Australian immigration officials were also weighing the possibility of a three-year travel ban on Djokovic, who is currently ranked number one in the world by the ATP Tour.

RELATED VIDEO: Novak Djokovic's Visa Reinstated, Wins Battle to Stay in Australia for Now

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a statement Friday agreeing with Hawke's decision to cancel the athlete's visa.

"This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods," he said.

"Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected. This is what the Minister is doing in taking this action today."

RELATED: Novak Djokovic Entrance Into Australia Reportedly Delayed Following Mix-Up on Visa Application

Hawke's decision came just days after an Australian Federal Circuit Court judge had reinstated Djokovic's visa, after his entry into Australia was delayed last week due to issues with his application. The Olympian had received a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption to play in the Grand Slam tournament prior to arriving in the country.

It also followed news that the Australian Border Force (ABF) would investigate whether Djokovic submitted a false travel declaration stating he had not traveled in the 14 days leading to his arrival in Australia on Jan. 5, CNN reported. Djokovic had been seen in both Spain and Serbia in the two-week period the travel declaration covered.

According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, the penalty for submitting a false travel declaration can be up to 12 months in prison.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting