An Australian judge said he was ‘agitated’ over Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s treatment by border officials during a hearing on Monday over the revocation of his visa last week, Reuters reported.
Judge Anthony Kelly said Djokovic had received the required documentation for a medical exemption before he traveled to Melbourne for the Australian Open.
“The point that I am somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” Kelly said during the hearing, according to Reuters.
Djokovic, 34, is seeking his record 21st Grand Slam victory in the tournament that starts on Jan. 17. He has been living at an immigration detention hotel since his visa was revoked by Australian border authorities on Wednesday.
Djokovic has argued that a recent COVID-19 infection qualifies him for a medical exemption to compete at the event, despite’s Australia’s requirement for all visitors to be fully vaccinated.
Officials made Djokovic switch off his phone when the decision was made to cancel his visa, and abruptly changed an agreed-upon time to question him, the judge said, according to Reuters.
The Australian government has argued unvaccinated non-residents have no right to enter the country and added that even if Djokovic wins his case, it reserves the right to detain him again and remove him from the country, Reuters reported.
Government lawyers were expected to deliver their case in court later on Monday, Reuters reported.
Djokovic, who has won nine Australian Open titles, has been a public critic of COVID-19 vaccines.
In an interview, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley blamed conflicting and quickly changing directives in “a challenging environment” for the situation with Djokovic.
The Australian government lost its bid to delay Monday’s hearing, with just days until the Australian Open is scheduled to begin.
Fellow tennis stars have had a mixed reaction to Djokovic’s predicament.
Rafael Nadal said Tuesday he feels “sorry” for Djokovic but maintained the world’s No. 1 ranked player “knew the conditions” to enter the Australian Open.
British tennis star Andy Murray also expressed concern about Djokovic on Sunday, adding that his situation is “not good” for tennis.