But he ended up spending four nights confined to an immigration detention hotel after officials rejected his exemption to Australia’s strict vaccination rules and canceled his visa.
On Monday, he won a court fight on procedural grounds that allowed him to stay and practice, before Hawke made his decision on Friday. Djokovic is expected to appeal but is running out of time and options.
Australia gives unusual authority to its immigration minister, which many refer to as the minister’s “god powers.” Hawke can essentially overrule the courts to deport people, with only narrow grounds for any appeals.
Kian Bone, a migration lawyer at Macpherson Kelley, said Djokovic might not have time to mount an effective appeal before he’s due to play, forcing him to forfeit.
“Australia has always had highly codified and highly legislated immigration policies,” Bone said. “And compared to other countries, we confer extraordinary power to the minister of immigration.”
Australia’s modern history began with it as a recipient of harsh immigration policies, with Britain sending tens of thousands of criminals to Australian penal colonies for 80 years, before it stopped the practice in 1868.
When Australia formed its first federal government in 1901, one of its first orders of business was to pass the Immigration Restriction Act, which was designed to keep out people of color from Asia, the Pacific Islands and elsewhere.