'Quite likely': The 'inevitable' truth facing Novak Djokovic

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Pictured here, Novak Djokovic hits a forehand shot during a tennis match.
A former Australian Border Force official has dealt Novak Djokovic a brutal reality check. Pic: AAP

An ex-Australian Border Force (ABF) official says it's "inevitable" that Novak Djokovic will be deported after his case is heard before a Federal Court on Sunday.

Djokovic's Australian Open fate will be determined on Sunday although it remains to be decided if it will be in front of a full court or single judge.

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Saturday's hearing was procedural with Justice David O'Callaghan transferring the matter to the Federal Court of Australia as agreed by both parties' lawyers for a 9:30am AEDT start.

The hearing was adjourned with the only contention that Djokovic's lawyers are in favour of the case being held before more than one judge, meaning no appeal is possible.

Stephen Lloyd, who was appearing on behalf of the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, did not agree, with the court expected to make a decision later on Saturday.

Djokovic's visa was revoked for a second time on Friday despite the 34-year-old winning his initial case on Monday.

However, a former ABF officer speaking to AAP on condition of anonymity, said the Serb was doomed even before he won his Federal Circuit Court case against deportation from Australia.

The former official rightly tipped a week ago that Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke would revoke Djokovic's visa.

"My mail is that regardless of the court result, Djokovic will still be deported," the source told AAP on January 7.

The former ABF officer said Djokovic being "such a vocal anti-vaxxer" ultimately led to the World No.1's downfall, and posting on social media last week that he was coming to Australia with a "special exemption" was the final straw.

"That was like raising a red flag to a bull to the (Australian) government," the source told AAP.

"He's made such a big song and dance. When this pandemic first kicked off, he was partying at his own tournament shirtless on stage with other players.

"The bottom line is you need to be fully vaccinated to get into the country, unless you've got exemptions from certain things, and he hasn't.

"He's the World No.1 but because he's such a vocal anti-vaxxer, that's why he got looked at and why initially his visa got rejected."

Novak Djokovic is set to learn his Australian Open fate in Federal Court on Sunday. Pic: Getty
Novak Djokovic is set to learn his Australian Open fate in Federal Court on Sunday. Pic: Getty

Many have questioned how Djokovic was allowed to board a flight to Australia without the necessary visa.

"When you apply for a visa overseas, you get online and it's pretty much tick and flick. Australia doesn't have Border Force officers at every port around the world," the ex-officer said.

"We don't have the resources. It's impractical and it's not viable.

"So there's background checks done, they go through a process and ... you pop up in a database if you're a criminal or if you've got criminal history, you get looked at closely.

"Clearly Novak's not a criminal - we all know that. But because he's drawn so much attention to himself, that's what made him a target."

Novak Djokovic faces possible three-year Australia ban

The former Border Force official said Djokovic was "quite likely going to get a three-year ban" from entering Australia.

"If your visa gets cancelled, especially if the Immigration Minister cancels your visa, it's automatic that you get a three-year ban," he said.

Under Australian law, anyone expelled from the country for three years following an adverse decision under section 133C(3), can apply for a waiver under "compelling" or "compassionate" circumstances.

The World No.1's lawyer, Nick Wood, contended in a directions hearing on Friday evening that the "underlying new rationale" behind the Australian government's latest move to kick out the Serbian is that it contends that his presence "will excite anti-vax sentiment".

Wood said Immigration Minister Hawke had given no consideration to the impact that deporting Djokovic may have among those opposed to Covid-19 vaccines, saying his client was of "negligible risk", "of good standing" and had a medical contraindication to a vaccine.

In a statement released on Friday, Hawke said the decision had been taken "on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so".

The Australian Open is due to commence on Monday where Djokovic was aiming for his 10th Melbourne slam. Djokovic was also hoping to challenge for a record-breaking 21st major title.

with agencies

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