- 2:45, 15 Jan 2022
- Updated: 2:45, 15 Jan 2022
NOVAK DJOKOVIC is set to learn whether he can remain in Australia on Sunday morning local time – Saturday evening in the UK.
He will spend the night in detention as he awaits the court hearing on Sunday.
The world No1 faces being deported once more as his Australian Open challenge appears set to be scuppered after a decision made by the country’s immigration minister.
But following a change in tact from Australia’s government, it is reported that Djokovic DID have a valid medical exemption and that immigration minister Alex Hawke will instead focus on his status as a high profile unvaccinated person and the threat that could have to public health and public order.
Hawke said on Friday: “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.”
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Stefanos Tsitsipas described Djokovic as “daring” for attempting to enter Australia unvaccinated.
He added that if the Serb was allowed in, it would “make the majority look like fools” for taking the jab.
He stated: “For sure he’s been playing by his own rules and has been doing something that not many players have the guts to go and do, especially after the ATP announced certain criteria for players to enter the country.
“No one would have really thought: ‘I can come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols they gave me’.
“It takes a lot of daring to do, I think, putting a Grand Slam at risk, I don’t think a lot of players would do that.
“It seems not everyone is playing by the rules … a very small majority chose to follow their own way, which kind of makes the majority look like fools.”
Tsitsipas caused vaccine-related controversy himself before the US Open, when he stated that he did not want to take the jab as he “wasn’t scared” of getting Covid.
‘The news is false’
The Spanish Government has confirmed that Novak Djokovic is not being investigated by them over a flight from Serbia to Marbella.
The Serb was pictured training in the Spanish resort city, where he spends much of the year, earlier this month.
Tourists arriving from Serbia are not allowed to enter Spain unless they are fully vaccinated.
And some reports claimed Spain had opened an investigation into how Djokovic arrived into the country.
However, a government spokesperson said: “The news is false. Neither the government has ordered it nor is there any police investigation open on the athlete.”
‘Not a question for me’
The health secretary of the Serbian province of Vojvodina, where Djokovic took his PCR test on December 16 has confirmed that the test was legitimate.
He then stated: “What he did afterwards [failing to self-isolate] is not a question for me.”
Djokovic’s test on December 16 came back positive. However, German publication zerforschung suggested the positive result submitted to Australian immigration may actually be from December 26.
Kec me if you can
One man who may be watching proceedings closely is fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic.
The world number 78 has been drawn to face Novak Djokovic in round one of the Australian Open on Monday.
However, if Djokovic is deported he will instead face the Russian 5th seed Andrey Rublev.
Djokovic to spend night detained
The athlete will spend Saturday night in detention as he awaits a hearing on Sunday morning.
He was detained on Friday morning UK time after a short hearing on his deportation appeal.
Novak Djokovic detained ahead of appeal
The athlete has been detained once again in Australia as he awaits a court hearing on Sunday morning, Australia time.
His lawyers are appealing a deportation order and asking authorities to let the Serbian athlete compete in the Australia Open on Monday.
Rafael Nadal has taken a number of different stances on Djokovic since his visa was cancelled on December 5.
Initially, he said: “I think if he (had) wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem.
“He went through another…he made his own decisions, and everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.
“I went through the COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problem to play here. That’s the only clear thing.
“The only for me clear thing is if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world in my opinion have been suffering enough to not follow the rules.”
However, once the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa the first time was overturned, the Spaniard labelled the decision “correct” and said “justice has prevailed”.
Hearing set for 10.30pm Saturday (UK)
Novak Djokovic went to court on Friday night UK time to ask Australian authorities to allow him to compete in the Australian Open on Monday.
Justice David O’Callaghan decided during the brief hearing that Djokovic’s appeal would be held on Sunday at 9:30am Australia time, 10.30pm in the UK.
Djokovic will be held by border agents at his lawyer’s office until 2pm Saturday.
Nick Kyrgios was one of few players to rally in support of Novak Djokovic when he was detained in an immigration hotel last week after attempting to enter the country.
This came as something of a surprise as the Aussie was one of Djokovic’s biggest critics in tennis.
He had previously said: “I just feel like he has a sick obsession with wanting to be liked. He just wants to be like Roger [Federer].
“For me personally – I don’t care right now, I’ve come this far – I feel like he just wants to be liked so much that I just can’t stand him.”
Kyrgios also fiercely criticised Djokovic for his Adria Tour event in the summer of 2020, which resulted in the Serb and a number of other participants contracting Covid.
Novak case to be heard Saturday night our time
Novak Djokovic’s case against deportation ahead of the Australian Open has been set for 23 hours’ time.
Sky News say the federal court will hear the appeal at 10.30pm on Saturday night – Sunday morning Aussie time.
Novak case to be heard Saturday night
Novak Djokovic’s appeal against deportation ahead of the Australian Open will be held in 23 hours’ time.
That’s according to Sky News, who say the federal court have just set the time for 10.30pm tomorrow.
That’s the lot for today, as far as the court drama is concerned.
The full hearing will be heard at 9.30am Australian Eastern Time tomorrow – 10.30pm UK time.
It has yet to be decided whether it will be heard in front of one judge (the government’s preference) or three judges (Djokovic’s preference).
A hearing in front of one judge allows an appeal to be heard by three judges, but any decision made by a full panel of three judges is final.
President of Serbia speaks
The President of Serbia has had his say on Novak Djokovic’s case in Australia, and asked why the nine-time Aussie Open champ is being harassed.
He commented: “If you wanted to forbid Novak Djokovic to win the [Australian Open] trophy for the 10th time, why didn’t you return him immediately?
“Why didn’t you tell him that it was impossible to get a visa?” .
“Why do you harass him, why do you mistreat him, as well as his family and [a] nation that is free and proud?
“Is all this necessary to win the elections and please your public?
“A president of a small country has appeared who has the courage to say that to one great prime minister of a large country — I can because I’m telling the truth and you know I’m telling the truth.”
Djokovic’s appeal hearing is underway!
What will the Australian Government argue?
The Australian Government has conceded that, on an individual level, Djokovic entered the country legally despite being unvaccinated, The Age reports.
That means that arguments over his medical exemption and his agent making an error on the immigration form are likely to be moot.
However, immigration minister Alex Hawke’s team may choose to focus extensively on Djokovic’s behaviour in Serbia.
The nine-time Aussie Open champ admitted to ignoring self-isolation rules to hold an in-person interview with a journalist from L’Equipe, two days after he tested positive for Covid.
The Government makes clear that if they were to allow Djokovic to remain in the country, he could embolden others to behave as he did in Belgrade.
Their case rests on the face that the Serb is a “high profile unvaccinated individual” and his presence “might be a threat to the health, safety or good order” of the Australian community.
Djokovic’s case will should underway very shortly.
The Federal Court of Australia has scheduled the hearing for 10.15am local time.
That’s 11.15pm UK time – just 15 minutes away!
What will Novak Djokovic’s lawyers argue?
Djokovic’s lawyers face a tough challenge to get the Federal Court to overturn immigration minister Alex Hawke’s decision.
Hawke’s decision was based on the assumption that Djokovic “might be a threat to the health, safety or good order” of the Australian community.
The Serb’s lawyers must therefore prove that that is not the case.
They may do this by arguing that Djokovic has never told other people not to get vaccinated, or point to his previous donations to vaccine drives for other professional players.
In the preliminary hearing, lawyer Nick Wood also labelled Djokovic “a man of good character” and pointed out that he had never knowingly broken any Australian rules.
Wood also noted that the Australian Government has acknowledged that Djokovic did have a medical exemption to vaccination and therefore had no grounds to prevent him entering the country nine days ago.
Novak odds-on to miss Oz Open
Novak Djokovic is now odds-on to MISS the Australian Open.
The world No1 and defending champion is appealing against his visa being cancelled a second time.
But sportsbook SBK rate the Serb legend 4/6 not to compete this year in the Slam he has won most – nine times.
Djokovic could also be banned from Australia for three years if he loses his appeal.
Djokovic ‘entered with a valid medical exemption’
Australia’s immigration minister has conceded that Novak Djokovic entered the country with a valid medical exemption, The Age reports.
In a huge change of tact, the Government now argues that Djokovic’s presence as a high profile unvaccinated individual who has shown “apparent disregard for Covid rules” is a threat to public health and public order.
Immigration minister Alex Hawke’s submission stated: “Given Mr Djokovic’s high-profile status and position as a role model in the sporting and broader community, his ongoing presence in Australia may foster similar disregard for the precautionary requirements following receipt of a positive COVID-19 test in Australia.
“In particular, his behaviour may encourage or influence others to emulate his prior conduct and fail to comply with appropriate health measures following a positive COVID-19 test, which itself could lead to the transmission of the disease and serious risk to their health and others.″
However, Novak Djokovic’s lawyer Nick Wood hit back during the preliminary hearing.
He said: “What the minister does is in substance to assume in Mr Djokovic’s favour every single fact that might have been an issue previously.
“The minister finds and assumes that Mr Djokovic has in respect complied with the law.”
Novak pals ‘afraid’ to speak out
Ukraine tennis star Illya Marchenko claims players are frightened to support Novak Djokovic in case their own visas get cancelled.
Djokovic’s appeal against deportation ahead of the Australian Open could be heard tomorrow.
And fellow 34-year-old Marchenko believes the defending champ is the victim of politics after winning an appeal when his visa was cancelled for the first time
He posted: “‘Rules are rules’ they say, then lose at their own court. Then find a way to cancel his visa anyway.
“So what rules were they referring to in the first place? Oh, I forgot, elections soon. Stay strong.”
And he hopes others speak up in support of Serbian legend Djokovic.
He said: “I’m out of Australia so I can. Others just afraid of their visa being cancelled as well” – plus crying-with-laughter emoji.
Novak could face three-year Oz ban
Djokovic could be banned from Australia for three years after facing deportation over his vaccination status.
If he loses his appeal, the world No.1 is looking at a three year ban from Oz.
‘Novak only has 2 choices’ after mess
Ex-Aussie tennis star Darren Cahill claims Novak Djokovic faces two hard choices after his appeal against deportation.
Cahill argued: “Fault lies everywhere here. It’s been a mess.
“Novak, TA, Vic Gov, Federal Gov. It should’ve been a hard rule entering this country considering what the folks have been thru.
“Get vaccinated and come play the AO, or if not maybe see you in 23′. No wiggle room.”
Appeal ‘set for tomorrow’
Novak Djokovic’s appeal against deportation ahead of the Australian Open is expected to be heard tomorrow in a federal court.
The Aussie Government has agreed not to boot him out of the country until the case was over.
But he world No1 and reigning champ was told to return to pre-deportation detention at 8am Saturday (9pm Friday, British time).
The Serb’s legal team put in their appeal this evening after Oz Immigration Minister Alex Hawke revoked Djokovic’s visa, using discretionary powers.
Behind closed doors
Djokovic will reportedly be taken to a secret location to be interviewed by Australian immigration officers in the morning.
According to the Daily Mail, the world No.1 will be escorted by Border Force officials to his lawyers’ offices as his case is heard by a new judge – Justice David O’Callaghan – at the Federal Court at 10.15am.
The 32-year-old could then be held in an immigration hotel.
Djokovic’s doctor laughs at Australian government
Djokovic’s doctor Igor Cetojevic has labelled Australia’s decision to remove the Serb as ‘absurd.’
He said: “It’s absurd that somebody who has optimal health is a threat to the health of the public.
“How can a super healthy guy be a threat for the Australian Open,” Cetojevic concluded whilst laughing.
The Irish Sun