When will Australian immigration minister decide Novak Djokovic’s fate?

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When will Australian immigration minister decide Novak Djokovic’s fate?
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Novak Djokovic’s participation in the Australian Open continues to hang in the balance.

The Serbian awaits the decision of Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke, who must weigh whether to revoke the 20-time Grand Slam winner’s visa.

Hawke could be empowered to do so if it is found that Djokovic included false information on his immigration forms when entering Australia.

The 34-year-old admitted that he had travelled in the two weeks prior to arriving in Melbourne, contrary to what had been stated on the forms, but attributed this to a “human error” made by his agent.

Pictures on social media showed the Serbian in Belgrade over Christmas and training in Spain at New Year.

Djokovic originally had his visa refused on 6 January, soon after landing in the state of Victoria, and was detained.

This refusal was overturned by a judge in court on 10 January, and the Australian Open favourite has since been able to train in Melbourne.

With the first major of the year set to begin on Monday 17 January, time is tight for authorities to determine whether Djokovic is permitted to play.

He has been given a medical exemption into the tournament as an unvaccinated player on the basis of a positive Covid test on 16 December, though the validity of that result has also been questioned.

It had been reported that a decision was due on Djokovic’s visa on Wednesday 12 January, but the day came and went without a ruling.

This means that Hawke will almost certainly decide on either Thursday 13 January or Friday 14 January.

Djokovic was confirmed in the Australian Open draw at a delayed ceremony on Thursday.

The defending champion was bracketed to play unseeded fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round at Melbourne Park after organisers delayed the draw for more than an hour without explanation.

Tournament director Craig Tiley declined to take questions at the end of the subdued ceremony, with the decision over whether to revoke Djokovic’s visa for a second time after it was cancelled on his arrival at Melbourne airport still ongoing.

Hawke’s colleagues in the Australian parliament are said to be split on whether to allow the nine-time Australian Open the chance to defend his title.

Djokovic admitted that he had knowingly broken isolation rules when attending a scheduled interview and photoshoot with French newspaper L’Equipe on December 18, having been notified of a positive PCR test one day prior.

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