Australian judge offers glimmer of hope to Novak Djokovic as he fights deportation


An Australian judge demanded Monday to know what more Novak Djokovic could have done to meet the country's strict pandemic entry requirements, offering a glimmer of hope to the detained tennis superstar as he fights deportation. The 34-year-old world number one arrived in Melbourne last week ahead of the Australian Open, hoping to win a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title. But guards at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport decided the unvaccinated star had failed to present a solid medical reason for not being jabbed.

Djokovic's visa was revoked and he was moved to a notorious immigration detention facility pending deportation.

In an emergency online court hearing Monday, federal Judge Anthony Kelly listened to extended legal wrangling about the process, before jumping to the 34-year-old's defence.

Declaring himself "somewhat agitated", Kelly said Djokovic had provided evidence from "a professor and an eminently qualified physician" about a medical exemption.

"What more could this man have done?" the judge demanded.

Proceedings were repeatedly delayed as the court's online system crashed under a surge of worldwide interest.

Anti-vaccine activists shared a link to the livestream and defied a court order by broadcasting proceedings live on YouTube.

Eventually, the judge pressed ahead without a public livestream, and Djokovic's team of top-flight lawyers made his case.

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