The 38-year-old top tennis player’s legal team said that the border security staff made a “mischievous and spurious” attempt to rush Djokovic into agreeing to the cancellation of his visa, thus preventing him from competing in next week’s Australian Open. The incident took place overnight between January 6-7 where the world-class tennis player apparently was subjected to an eight-hour ordeal with the airport security staff.
In a detailed summary of the events, his lawyers gave a minute-to-minute update of what happened with the tennis player during that night.
Their legal documents, submitted for Djokovic’s court hearing on Monday, use a transcript from his airport interview to detail what happened once his Emirates flight EK408 landed shortly before midnight last Wednesday.
Mr Djokovic said he was “confused” and was granted more time to think through the advice. He was led to the room with a bed in the belief that the 8.30am deadline stood.
His legal team alleged that the border security staff made a “mischievous and spurious” attempt to rush Djokovic into agreeing to the cancellation of his visa, thus preventing him from competing in next week’s Australian Open.
The court document read: “The basis that the supervisors proffered as to why Mr Djokovic should go along with that [visa cancellation] was patently spurious and mischievous i.e. it would actually be better for Mr Djokovic and his representatives if the decision were made quickly and before Mr Djokovic rested or consulted with his representatives.”
Djokovic, who has said he is opposed to vaccination, had been granted a medical exemption to play in the tournament in a decision that infuriated many ordinary Australians who have been living under some of the world’s strictest COVID rules.
According to his legal team, the pressure reportedly placed on him to submit to the will of the officials without proper advice was unlawful.
They said he had been in transit for 25 hours by the time the dispute reached its conclusion and that he was in no condition to make a reasoned decision.
While foreigners can fly into Australia on a visa applied for online, they must still clear immigration customs on arrival at the airport.
The Australian Open begins on 17 January in Melbourne.