The decision comes after the Serbian tennis star’s position became increasingly untenable when he apologised for taking part in a media interview while knowingly positive with COVID-19.
A source close to the Australian Open defending champion, speaking anonymously to detail private planning, on Thursday said his legal team would immediately take an adverse decision by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to court. Lawyers believe the hearing could be fast-tracked by minimising the length of written submissions and verbal evidence.
If the case does go to court, the 20-time grand slam winner’s legal team hope the matter could be heard in court over the weekend and finalised by Sunday, allowing him to play a match early next week if he beats the government for a second time.
The case would go back to Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly for a hearing, but he then may refer it upstairs to the Federal Court. Sources earlier in the week confirmed there was a justice on standby to hear the case.
Djokovic came to the country on the basis that he contracted COVID-19 in December, arguing prior infection of the virus in the past six months was a valid exemption for being unvaccinated.
But the federal government always disputed his arguments, saying Tennis Australia was warned players in his position would not be allowed into the country.
Djokovic on Wednesday apologised for an error of judgment for taking part in a media interview a day after receiving a positive test result and admitted that his Australian Travel Declaration form incorrectly stated he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to arriving in Australia despite being in Spain.
In a lengthy post on Instagram, Djokovic said he received a positive result on the night of December 17 after submitting the test the day before. But in his sworn court affidavit Djokovic said he was “tested and diagnosed” on December 16.
Djokovic said he “felt obliged” to go ahead and conduct an interview with French media organisation L’Equipe on December 18 because he “didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken”.