HomeSportsTennisNovak Djokovic news LIVE: Latest as tennis star detained by officials

Novak Djokovic news LIVE: Latest as tennis star detained by officials


Andy Murray describes Australia’s decision to revoke Novak Djokovic’s visa as ‘unfortunate’

Novak Djokovic has been detained by border officials once more after his visa was cancelled by the Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke. Djokovic’s legal team immediately launched an appeal against the decision, calling it “patently irrational” and claiming Hawke’s decision was based purely on the government’s fear that Djokovic’s appearance at the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, might stir anti-vaccine sentiment in the country.

Djokovic’s final appeal hearing is now set for a federal court at 9.30am on Sunday morning in Melbourne (10.30pm tonight in the UK), and the player’s fate will be decided by Justice David O’Callaghan. If his expensively compiled legal team win the appeal, Djokovic will take on fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round on Monday evening, where he is expected to get a hostile reception from the crowd. If the government wins its case, Djokovic will be deported.

It emerged on Friday that Hawke based his finding not on the validity or otherwise of Djokovic’s medical exemption but on the potential for his continued presence in the country to stoke anti-vaccination sentiments and a threat to public order. Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid-19” and said he had “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”.

Follow all the latest news below as Djokovic fights for a chance to play at the Australian Open.

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Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

A 15-minute procedural hearing took place on Saturday morning AEDT to confirm Djokovic’s transfer into the custody of immigration authorities.

Justice O’Callaghan ruled that the Minister for Immigration had to file and serve any amended application by midday Saturday, and that Djokovic had to file his written submission by the same time.

Djokovic’s lawyers asked for the appeal hearing to be carried out before a full court of three judges, while the Australian government asked for it to be heard in front of just one judge in order to preserve appeals in the case.

Djokovic was interviewed by immigration officials on Saturday morning, but was allowed to spend Friday night at his own accommodation in Melbourne despite having his visa cancelled, reported The Australian.

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 10:46

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Djokovic visa cancelled over fears of civil unrest

It emerged on Friday that Australian immigration Hawke based his finding not on the validity or otherwise of Djokovic’s medical exemption but on the potential for his continued presence in the country to stoke anti-vaccination sentiments and a threat to public order.

Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid-19” and said he had “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”.

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 10:35

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Murray refuses to ‘kick Djokovic while he’s down’

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 10:28

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Djokovic saga – recap

Andy Murray took a more conciliatory tone after his victory over Reilly Opelka in Sydney, saying: “It’s not a good situation. I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak whilst he’s down. It’s not a good situation for anyone.

“I just want it obviously to get resolved. I think it would be good for everyone if that was the case. It just seems like it’s dragged on for quite a long time now, and it’s not great for tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak.”

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 10:12

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Djokovic saga – recap

He also admitted his declaration form falsely claimed he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his trip to Australia, which he attributed to a mistake from his agent.

There has been strong criticism of the way the Australian Government has handled the situation but public opinion has been firmly in favour of Djokovic being sent home.

Sympathy has also been in short supply from his fellow players, many of whom were sceptical of taking the vaccine, with world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas telling India’s WION news channel: “A very small group chose to follow their own way and it kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools.”

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 09:55

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Djokovic’s controversial beliefs and why he is opposed to the vaccine

The true depth of Djokovic’s belief in alternative treatments was epitomised by his vehement opposition to undergoing surgery in 2017. Despite struggling with a near-intolerable pain in his elbow, which led to Djokovic failing to reach a grand slam semi-final in a calendar year for the first time in over a decade, he was insistent that a cure could be found through holistic medicine.

When he eventually succumbed in February 2018, Djokovic claimed he cried for three days after waking up from the operation. “Every time I thought about what I did, I felt like I had failed myself,” he said. He has won eight of the 14 grand slams that have been played since.

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 09:42

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Djokovic saga – recap

The situation has dominated global news since Djokovic was detained at Melbourne airport last Thursday morning after Border Force officials concluded he did not have the right paperwork to enter the country.

The nine-time Australian Open champion had received an exemption through Tennis Australia from strict coronavirus vaccination rules for arrivals into the country by virtue of having tested positive last month.

Two other individuals – Czech player Renata Voracova and an official – with the same exemption were subsequently told they could not stay in the country and left before Judge Anthony Kelly ruled in favour of Djokovic on Monday.

Djokovic headed straight to Melbourne Park after being freed and had practised every day since, including early on Friday morning, but his hopes of staying in the country appeared to fade as the week went on following revelations about his behaviour following his positive test.

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 09:36

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Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Djokovic had been waiting since a judge overturned the original decision on Monday to find out whether Hawke would use his powers to reimpose the penalty.

And, just before 6pm (7am UK time) on Friday, Hawke released a statement, saying: “Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.

“This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.

“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.

“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The decision means Djokovic also faces a three-year ban from the country, which could mean he never plays at the Australian Open again, although that can be waived.

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 09:19

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Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Hawke also gave significant weight to Djokovic’s admission that he attended an interview with l’Equipe last month despite knowing he had tested positive for Covid-19 and argued Australians may follow suit.

“I have also given consideration to the fact that Mr Djokovic has, in the past, shown an apparent disregard for the need to isolate following the receipt of a positive Covid-19 test result,” he said.

Djokovic’s release from detention on Monday resulted in police pepper spraying his supporters and Hawke cited the possibility of civil unrest, although his lawyers will argue on Sunday that the same could result from his deportation.

Hawke, meanwhile, dismissed Djokovic’s arguments that the cancellation of his visa would either be seen as politically motivated or jeopardise the viability of the country hosting the Australian Open.

Australia Djokovic Immigration

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 09:05

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Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid-19” and said he had “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”.

Hawke stated his belief that not cancelling the visa could encourage Australians not to take the vaccine, increasing pressure on the health service.

“I consider that his ongoing presence in Australia may pose a risk to the good order of the Australian community,” he said.

Lawrence Ostlere15 January 2022 08:52

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