A top Australian lawyer has stated that he believes Novak Djokovic could compete in the Australian Open despite all the confusion.
A senior partner at Thomson Geer Lawyers, founded in 1885, Justin Quill, told Channel 9’s Today Show that a protracted legal battle could provide the nine time and reigning Australian Open champion with a loophole to compete while challenging his revoked visa.
Djokovic announced on his social media account Tuesday that he had received “an exemption permission” to play the Australian Open and would be flying to Melbourne.
Tennis Australia confirmed that the Serb had “applied for a medical exemption which was granted after a rigorous review process involving two independent and separate medical experts, one of which was appointed by the Victorian Department of Health.
Whilst Djokovic’s Emirates flight was on it’s way from Dubai to Melbourne ,Australian Border ‘Force discovered an issue with the player’s visa and he was taken to an airport interview room on arrival at Tullamarine Airport and questioned overnight.
Recovery from a recent infection is thought to be the grounds Djokovic used to obtain his vaccine medical exemption from Tennis Australia and enter the country.
But leaked letters sent to Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley by both Australia’s Health Minister and a government Department for Health representative back in November 2021 show that Tiley was explicitly told “previous infection is insufficient grounds for vaccine exemption.
This could be difficult for Tiley to explain away in any enquiry which is likely to follow in the wake of this embarrassing debacle.
Djokovic’s visa was therefore cancelled because the Serb provided “minimal” proof for his exemption, supported by only one doctor, and could not show any more evidence when requested to do so by border officials and the Victorian State government.
Djokovic was set to be deported but was given permission to stay whilst his lawyers lodged an appeal.
Lawyer Justin Quill said he thought there was no chance Djokovic would have been immediately sent home.
“I think if they had have tried to deport him last night, the judge would have ruled in his favour. The judge was always going to give him or his lawyers at least the opportunity to make their case,”
“So, to be frank, it wasn’t a big win, but it’s a good step forward for him, although I’m not sure he will be enjoying his accommodation over the weekend.”
Quill, an experienced media law practitioner also thought there was “a pretty good chance that Djokovic will be playing at the Australian Open as a result of being granted an interlocutory injunction, which would prevent his immediate deportation jn order that the case can be heard properly.
Explaining his reasoning Quill also revealed he thought Djokovic would win his case as he said: “I suspect what’s going to happen is – and I suspect not so much because he is going to win his case, but that it is going to be found that there needs to be more time, and he will be allowed to stay in the country, compete in the Australian Open, and then the lawyers can argue their case in the weeks and months to follow.
“It will be a bit of an irrelevant case at that stage, but I suspect that’s probably where we are going to land with this said Quill.
“The imposition on Djokovic not being allowed to compete is arguably greater than the imposition on the Minister for Home Affairs. So, I suspect the court is going to land there and say, ‘I’m going to allow you to stay in the country while we sort this out.