What next for Novak Djokovic: the two options and possible outcomes after Australia visa cancelled again

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What next for Novak Djokovic: the two options and possible outcomes after Australia visa cancelled again – AP

Novak Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled for a second time and he faces immediate deportation from Australia. Here we look at what could follow.

What are Djokovic's options now?

1. Accept the decision

Djokovic could choose not to fight on. That will primarily depend on whether he and his legal team think he has a realistic prospect of overturning the ruling by immigration minister Alex Hawke. They could also take into account whether Friday’s decision has so badly undermined his defence of his Australian Open title – the saga has already hampered his preparations – that winning in court would be something of a pyrrhic victory.

Given he now faces a three-year ban from entering the country unless granted an exemption on “compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia”, standing down may not be an option. While such circumstances could include preserving the prestige of the Australian Open, his coronavirus quarantine breach in Serbia and false information entered on his travel documents may prove aggravating factors in future attempts to enter the country.

2. Apply for an injunction

Djokovic’s camp were said to be preparing for a further legal appeal even before Hawke’s decision. He is almost certain to seek an injunction against immediate deportation, one that is likely to be granted pending a judicial review into his case. It seems unthinkable he would be forced to return to immigration detention in the meantime given that would potentially force him to forfeit his Australian Open first round match next week.

Alex Hawke – Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP

He has already won once in court, while his legal team were successful in delaying Hawke’s decision by filing what the minister’s spokesman said were “lengthy further submissions”. A judicial review would raise the remarkable prospect of Djokovic playing at the tournament while the case is being heard and ruled upon.

What are the possible outcomes?

1. He wins – but there's ill feeling

Djokovic’s family described his court victory earlier this week – after a judge ruled due process had not been followed in the decision to deport him – as the “biggest victory” of his career. Overturning Hawke’s ruling, arrived at following days of deliberations, would be an even more monumental personal triumph when viewed through the same lens. It would give him arguably his best opportunity to win a record 21st major and lay claim to the title of tennis’s Greatest Of All Time.

But, in almost every other respect, there would be little for Djokovic to celebrate given the ill feeling towards him and the damage all this has caused to his reputation. His presence at Melbourne Park could prove a lightning rod in the locker room and the stands. It would also deal a hammer blow to the dwindling credibility of the Australian government.

2. He loses – and possibility of being detained mid-tournament

That would see him immediately detained, potentially mid-tournament and even mid-match, and sent home on the first available flight. At 34, deportation and a three-year ban could wreck his hopes of winning another Australian Open, severely limiting his ability to set a majors record that might otherwise never have been beaten. It will also embolden other nations and tournaments with rules surrounding coronavirus vaccination to ban him from playing there.

There is also a risk of fresh protests in Australia from Djokovic’s supporters and of a major diplomatic fallout between its government and that of Serbia.

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