Novak Djokovic starts the legal fight in the late hours of the night

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Novak Djokovic's lawyers appeared late last night before a federal judge seeking an order to prevent the tennis star from being deported or detained.

The preliminary hearing began in Federal Court at 20:45 p.m. Friday, three hours after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his discretionary powers to revoke Djokovic's visa. The proceedings were broadcast on the court's YouTube channel.

While legal experts have raised doubts that the unvaccinated Serb will be able to play in the Australian Open, his lawyers will be encouraged by the fact that referee Anthony Kelly is again sitting on the issue after ruling in favor of Djokovic on Monday.

The last turn in the dramatic saga can continue until Sunday - just a day before the start of the Grand Slam, reports.

Nick Wood SC told the court that his client was "seeking an order to stop his deportation and release him from custody" so that the world number one could compete in his first game in the first round of Monday night.

He added that a formal application to stay in the country will be sent to the court as soon as possible.

Despite the Immigration Minister's order, Djokovic has not been arrested yet, but will have to attend an interview with border officials at 8am on Saturday.

The cancellation means Djokovic could be barred from a new Australian visa for three years, except in certain circumstances.

The 34-year-old's legal team reportedly was notified of his visa cancellation 13 minutes before the media and went directly to discussions with the Federal Government.21Media