Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has enjoyed his first big win in his fight to stay in Australia beyond Sunday.
The world number one had his visa cancelled for a second time, and was detained by officials early Saturday morning.
Despite his pleas to remain in his current accommodation falling on deaf ears, the 34-year-old had an early victory in court on Saturday.
Djokovic will now have his case heard by three judges instead of one on Sunday, after a successful argument from his lawyers.
The tennis star will spend a fifth night in Melbourne’s detention hotel as he waits to hear if he will be deported before the Australian Open begins on Monday.
While still scheduled to play his opening round match on Monday, Djokovic remains in limbo.
The unvaccinated star was driven from his lawyer’s office to the Park Hotel in Melbourne’s Carlton, which is being used as an immigration detention centre, on Saturday afternoon.
Wearing a green tracksuit and a white face mask, he appeared composed in the back of a vehicle.
The 34-year-old has already spent four nights at the hotel, when his visa was first cancelled on arrival to Australia, and will spend a fifth there before a scheduled hearing in the Federal Court on Sunday.
Djokovic arrived in the country late on the evening of January 5. He was detained by border officials and his visa was cancelled at 7.29am the next day.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has accused the Australian government of “harassing” and “maltreating” Djokovic, suggesting it was indulging in political point-scoring ahead of the election.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists Djokovic’s visa cancellation was carried out in the public interest.