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Verdict expected soon in Novak Djokovic deportation hearing

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James Allsop
Alex Hawke
Stephen Lloyd
Nick Wood
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Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer
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safety measures," Lloyd said.Lloyd said that Djokovic's "presence in Australia was seen to pose an overwhelming risk."The minister canceled Djokovic's visa on Friday on the grounds that his presence in Australia may be a risk to the health and "good order" of the Australian public and "may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia."Australia has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the world.Djokovic's lawyers argued that the minister provided no evidence that Djokovic's presence in Australia may "foster anti-vaccination sentiment."Djokovic's lawyer Nick Wood also said the minister had failed to take into account how deporting Djokovic might "galvanize anti-vax activists," as happened when the 34-year-old Serb faced deportation shortly after arriving in Melbourne on January 5.Djokovic supporters had called for a boycott of the Australian Open.Hundreds of activists held a peaceful rally outside the Melbourne Park complex that hosts the Australian Open on Saturday and planned another for Monday over Djokovic's treatment."We're at Rod Laver Arena to support Novak. "We're a peaceful movement, here to raise awareness and support everyone's freedom of choice."Lloyd said Hawke realized that canceling Djokovic's visa "would result in some level of unrest." But the minister's concerns about the consequences of the Serb staying were greater.Djokovic spent Saturday night in an immigration detention hotel after he and his lawyers met with immigration officials earlier in the day.He was permitted to leave the hotel to spend Sunday in his lawyers' offices, under the guard of two immigration officials, while the challenge was heard via video conference.Djokovic had spent four nights confined to a hotel near downtown Melbourne before being released last Monday when he won a court challenge on procedural grounds against his first visa cancellation.Deportation from Australia can lead to a three-year ban on returning to the country, although that may be waived, depending on the circumstances.The Health Department advised that Djokovic was a "low" risk of transmitting COVID-19 and a "very low" risk of transmitting the disease at the Australian Open.Djokovic, who has won the last three Australian Open titles, is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

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