Djokovic news LIVE: World No 1 waits on Australian immigration minister’s decision over visa

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Djokovic news LIVE: World No 1 waits on Australian immigration minister’s decision over visa
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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

Novak Djokovic is preparing for the Australian Open at last, after days of uncertainty over him being allowed to enter the country - and even now there remains suggestions he has more questions to answer. Despite winning his appeal to have his visa application accepted, minister for immigration Alex Hawke is still considering the possibility of “a personal power of cancellation”, a move which could yet drag on for several days.

The men’s world number one has also now admitted he broke isolation and conducted an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe when he knew he was positive for the virus while it has also emerged that he could face up to five years in prison if he lied about his positive test.

He will face yet further questions, possibly from the Australian Border Force, over claims he misconstrued information on his travel declaration form, saying he had not travelled elsewhere before heading Down Under - despite photos emerging of him training in Spain just before the new year. Andy Murray has acknowledged Djokovic is likely to have to answer questions in public, too, after the isolation controversy, but hopes the Serbian can get back to focusing on tennis now.

Follow all the latest news and updates as Djokovic prepares for the Australian Open below.

Novak Djokovic latest news and updates

  • Novak Djokovic awaits fresh decision over Australian visa

  • World No1 hits out at ‘misinformation’ in statement

  • Djokovic admits attending L’Equipe interview with Covid

  • Serbian facing five years in prison if he misled court over Covid test

  • Djokovic still has ‘questions to answer’, says Murray

Novak Djokovic learns route to Australian Open final amid uncertainty over visa decision

07:44 , Jack Rathborn

Novak Djokovic was drawn against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic as uncertainty continued over whether he will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open.

It appeared a decision from Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could be imminent when the draw was postponed from 3pm (4am UK) at the last minute and without explanation.

But it was then announced it would be held 75 minutes later, with Hawke now not expected to make his decision until Friday.

Djokovic, who is looking to win a record 10th Australian Open and 21st grand slam title, duly took his place at the top of the draw.

If he is forced out of the tournament ahead of Monday’s order of play being announced, the seeds will be shuffled around, with fifth seed Andrey Rublev taking Djokovic’s place.

If it happens after that time but before the first-round match, he will be replaced by a lucky loser from qualifying.

Novak Djokovic drawn against countryman as Australian Open uncertainty continues

Novak Djokovic admits attending interview with journalist while Covid positive

Wednesday 12 January 2022 22:24 , Jamie Braidwood

As a reminder of today’s top story, Novak Djokovic has admitted to making an “error of judgement” by attending an interview with a French journalist while Covid positive.

In a lengthy statement on social media, he hit out at “misinformation” surrounding his entry into Australia and travel documents. The world No 1 said “human error” was behind a mistake made on his Australian entry documents that breached the country’s strict laws on reporting recent travel.

“This was human error and certainly not deliberate,” Djokovic said in a post on Instagram. “We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur.”

The statement came as Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke considered whether to cancel the world No 1 tennis player’s visa ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January.

Giving false or misleading information in the form is an offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a fine as well as cancellation of the offender’s visa.

Full story:

Novak Djokovic admits attending interview with journalist while Covid positive

Renata Voracova ‘did nothing wrong’ before deportation from Australia, says WTA

Wednesday 12 January 2022 21:48 , Jamie Braidwood

The WTA continued: “Renata Voracova followed these rules and procedures, was cleared for entry upon her arrival, competed in an event and then suddenly had her visa cancelled when she had done nothing wrong.

“We will continue to work with all authorities on addressing this unfortunate situation in an appropriate manner.”

Voracova confirmed she is now seeking compensation from Tennis Australia over her treatment.

“The air ticket alone cost 60,000 Czech korunas (£2,060) and my coach travelled with me. And then there is all that time, hotels, training for the Grand Slam, the potential prize money,” she told Czech newspaper Denik.

“I hope Tennis Australia will face up to it and that we won’t have to take legal steps.”

Djokovic not the only player caught in storm

Wednesday 12 January 2022 21:25 , Jamie Braidwood

The Women’s Tennis Association have claimed that doubles player Renata Voracova, who had her visa cancelled and was deported from Australia last week, “did nothing wrong”.

Voracova was granted entry to Australia with a vaccine exemption and took part in a warm-up event in Melbourne before being detained by border officials amid the furore over Novak Djokovic.

After Djokovic’s appeal was upheld in court on Monday, Voracova expressed her disappointment at missing the grand slam.

“I am really sad that this happened,” she said. “It’s one of the biggest tournaments. You go there and this happens. You can’t even imagine it is possible in the 21st century to happen in this country.”

In a statement, the WTA admitted that the situation is “unfortunate”.

Djokovic saga damaging for everyone, says ATP

Wednesday 12 January 2022 20:48 , Jamie Braidwood

The controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic’s entry into Australia has been “damaging on all fronts”, according to the men’s professional tennis tour.

The 34-year-old is still awaiting a verdict from Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke, who is considering whether to cancel his visa despite Djokovic’s victory in court.

The decision to grant Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, a medical exemption for the tournament caused controversy in Australia, which has seen some of the world’s strictest lockdowns and vaccination rules during the pandemic.

“The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of Covid-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place,” the organisation said.

“In travelling to Melbourne, it’s clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations.

“The series of events leading to Monday’s court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open.”

More here:

Novak Djokovic Australian visa saga ‘damaging on all fronts’, ATP admits

Australian TV reporters go viral for Djokovic rant

Wednesday 12 January 2022 20:26 , Jamie Braidwood

A leaked video from 7News Melbourne shows two reporters discussing the world No1 prior to their show - in far from complimentary terms.

Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor’s comments were caught on microphone and camera as they sat behind the newsdesk, with a large image of Djokovic mounted on a screen behind them.

“Whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a***hole,” Maddern can be heard saying. “Whatever way you look at it...It is unfortunate that everyone stuffed up around him. To go out when you know you’re Covid-positive...well, I don’t think he was even Covid-positive.”

“That’s it, he’s an a**hole. He got a bullsh*t f*****g excuse and then fell over his own f*****g lies. It’s just what happens, right, that’s what happened,’ Amor replied.

Full story:

News reporters caught on camera criticising Novak Djokovic in expletive-filled rant

Djokovic will play ‘even better’ against the crowds

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:57 , Jamie Braidwood

Former player Andrew Castle says Novak Djokovic is “stubborn” and having the crowd against him at the Australian Open will make him play “even better”.

Djokovic won his appeal to stay in Australia on Monday after having his visa cancelled for not having sufficient evidence for his medical exemption. However, he could still be deported if Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke decides to re-cancel the visa in coming days.

The situation has many predicting crowds will be against him as he goes for a record 21st grand slam but Castle believes Djokovic will thrive in that environment.

“He’s such a stubborn and hard-working guy on court, if he gets this exemption and if the Australian government don’t supersede the court, I would say that he’s going to tee it up and play,” he told Sky.

“If he can get through two, three, four rounds, and play his way into the tournament - we know how good he is - I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him into the second week of this grand slam once again, because he is so stubborn and so good.

“When it’s time, and the bell rings, he’ll be ready to compete. Sometimes Novak can be even better when everyone is against him than when everyone is for him.”

Djokovic set to be included in Australian Open draw

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:37 , Jamie Braidwood

Novak Djokovic is set to learn his first-round opponent as the Australian Open draw takes place on Thursday.

That could put further pressure on the Australian government to make their decision ahead of the draw, which is to be held at 3pm local time (4am GMT).

Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, has been handed the number one seed in the men’s draw.

While the chances are extremely slim, Djokovic could draw Andy Murray, who is an unseeded player after receiving a wildcard to the tournament.

When is Australian Open 2022 draw? Date, time, seeds and full schedule

Djokovic’s father declares: ‘Case closed’

Wednesday 12 January 2022 19:14 , Jamie Braidwood

While Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open future still hangs in the balance, his father believes it is already a shut case.

In his latest comments to Serbian media, Srdjan Djokovic declared: “The whole situation regarding Novak Djokovic is closed by the verdict of the Australian court.

“An Australian court and an independent judge, after seven hours of examining all the facts, determined that there are no ambiguities and that Novak is free to enter Australia and do his job.”

Djokovic is still awaiting the decision of the Australian immigration minister, who could exercise a personal power to cancel Djokovic’s visa.

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

Wednesday 12 January 2022 18:48 , Jamie Braidwood

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.

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 has been named as the top seed ahead of the men’s draw, which takes place on Thursday.

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

Djokovic interview ‘deeply concerning'

Wednesday 12 January 2022 18:23 , Jamie Braidwood

Novak Djokovic has been criticised by the International Tennis Writers Association after he admitted to attending an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe while positive for Covid-19.

Djokovic made the admission in a statement earlier today. The world No 1 tested positive for Covid on 16 December but still went ahead with the interview on 18 December and did not inform the journalist.

“The news that Novak Djokovic did not tell one of our members - and the rest of the L’Equipe team on the day - that he had tested positive for Covid-19 is deeply concerning,” the International Tennis Writers Association said in a statement.

“As journalists, we take great care to adhere to all Covid-19 rules in place and we would expect all players to do the same. Furthermore, it should be noted that all journalists have to be fully vaccinated to travel to Melbourne for this year’s Australian Open.”

Murray: Djokovic still has questions to answer

Wednesday 12 January 2022 18:01 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic still has questions to answer over Australian visa controversy, Andy Murray says

Andy Murray has said Novak Djokovic still has questions to answer over his controversial entry into Australia, despite the world No 1 winning an appeal against being deported from the country.

Djokovic is set to defend his Australian Open title after an order to cancel his visa following scrutiny of his medical exemption for the Covid vaccine was quashed in a court hearing.

Djokovic has also yet to address claims that he attended a public event after returning a positive PCR result last month and the player’s family abruptly shut down a press conference when asked whether he had broken self-isolation rules on Monday.

And while Murray, a long-time friend and rival of Djokovic, welcomed his the outcome of the court hearing and his release, the former British No 1 said he must address those remaining questions ahead of the start of the tournament on 17 January.

“It’s positive that he’s not in detention any more,” Murray said.

“Obviously he won in court so that’s a positive thing for him. Hopefully he will be able to concentrate on the tennis now.

“I think there are still a few questions that need to be answered around the isolation and stuff, which I’m sure we’ll hear from him in the next few days.”

Full report here:

Andy Murray says Novak Djokovic still has questions to answer over visa controversy

Djokovic does not have the ‘right’ to be in Australia

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:36 , Lawrence Ostlere

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Marton Fucsovics has responded to Novak Djokovic’s vaccination exemption by saying he does not think the Serbian had the right to play in the Australian Open.

Speaking to the Hungarian outlet M4Sport, Marton Fucsovics said: “People’s health is paramount, and there are rules that were outlined months ago, namely that everyone should vaccinate themselves – and Djokovic didn’t.

“From this point of view, I don’t think he would have the right to be here.”

The Hungarian world number 38, who lost to Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals and in the Paris Masters in November, also said he was not alone in thinking it unfair that Djokovic could play in the Gram Slam despite not being vaccinated.

Kyrgios ‘embarrassed’ to be Australian

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:19 , Lawrence Ostlere

Nick Kyrgios ‘embarrassed’ to be an Australian athlete after Novak Djokovic visa debacle

Nick Kyrgios admits he is “embarrassed” to be an Australian athlete after the Novak Djokovic visa debacle.

The controversial Australian player is currently isolating after testing positive for Covid, which forced him to withdraw from the Sydney Tennis Classic.

And Kyrgios has hit out at the media over the controversy surrounding Djokovic’s visa and vaccination exemption, while conceding he is “embarrassed” by the whole affair.

“We know that the media like to create s***-storms, with my story and everything going on with Novak,” said Kyrgios, who has tumbled down the world rankings to No 114. “I feel quite embarrassed as an Australian athlete who’s seen what this guy has done for us and for the sport.

“I just don’t think it’s right how we’re handling it, but the media loves to do that, loves to divide.”

Full report here:

Nick Kyrgios ‘embarrassed’ to be Australian athlete after Novak Djokovic visa debacle

Djokovic seeded No1 in Melbourne

Wednesday 12 January 2022 17:01 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic has been handed the number one seed ahead of the Australian Open men’s draw after winning his appeal to enter the country and compete for a 10th title.

It comes as the the world No. 1 awaits a verdict from Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke, who is considering whether to cancel his visa despite the Serbian’s court victory on Monday.

Djokovic has retuned to training and confirmed he is “focused” on tennis after he was released from an immigration facility, where he had been held since arriving in Australia last week.

Djokovic, who will move clear of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal if he wins a 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne this month, is also facing questions over his positive Covid-19 test and whether false travel information was included on his visa documents.

But the 34-year-old has been named the top seed ahead of Thursday’s Australian Open main draw. The tournament starts on Monday 17 January.

Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev make up the men’s top five.

For the women’s top seeds, Australian Ash Barty remains the No1, with Aryna Sabalenka, Garbine Muguruza, Barbora Krejcikova and Maria Sakkari joining her in the top five.

Djokovic tipped to thrive in Melbourne

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:49 , Ben Burrows

Former player Andrew Castle says Novak Djokovic is “stubborn” and having the crowd against him at the Australian Open will make him play “even better”.

Djokovic won his appeal to stay in Australia on Monday after having his visa cancelled for not having sufficient evidence for his medical exemption. However, he could still be deported if Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke decides to re-cancel the visa in coming days.

The situation has many predicting crowds will be against him as he goes for a record 21st grand slam but Castle believes Djokovic will thrive in that environment.

“He’s such a stubborn and hard-working guy on court, if he gets this exemption and if the Australian government don’t supersede the court, I would say that he’s going to tee it up and play,” he told Sky.

“If he can get through two, three, four rounds, and play his way into the tournament - we know how good he is - I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him into the second week of this grand slam once again, because he is so stubborn and so good.

“When it’s time, and the bell rings, he’ll be ready to compete. Sometimes Novak can be even better when everyone is against him than when everyone is for him.”

More here:

‘Stubborn’ Novak Djokovic tipped to be ‘even better when everyone is against him’

Djokovic waits on fresh visa decision

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:39 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic has been given a medical exemption to compete at 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 has been named as the top seed ahead of the men’s draw, which takes place on Thursday.

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.

Djokovic’s Australian Open hopes still in the balance

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:37 , Ben Burrows

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.

All you need to know about the 2022 Australian Open

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:21 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic has dominated the headlines in the build-up to the Australian Open 2022, which runs from 17–30 January.

The men’s No 1 player has had an order for deportation quashed on appeal and has resumed practice at Melbourne Park, and barring any further twists and turns, Djokovic will begin his title defence next week as the No 1 seed.

Nonetheless the tournament is wide open even though Djokovic, the nine-time winner aiming to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slams, is the favourite.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the tournament:

When is Australian Open 2022 draw? Date, time, seeds and full schedule

Djokovic back in training

Wednesday 12 January 2022 16:06 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic received an “uncomfortable” reception from fellow players as he took part in a secret training session at the Australian Open on Tuesday, according to one reporter.

Djokovic was released from an immigration facility on Monday after winning his appeal against deportation from the country and says he is “focused” on defending his Australian Open title.

While Djokovic is still facing the possibility of having his visa revoked, as the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke considers whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation, the nine-time Australian Open champion has returned to training ahead of the start of the tournament on 17 January.

Djokovic took part in a training session at the Rod Laver Arena, that was shrouded in secrecy after tournament organisers closed the doors to the practice and cut the live stream of the court.

Tennis Australia later released video of Djokovic practicing with coach Goran Ivanisevic, but the world No. 1 was also said to have taken part in an indoor gym session.

And according to New York Times reporter Ben Rothenberg, who quoted a source in the facility, “the place went silent with everyone staring. Talk about uncomfortable.”

Novak Djokovic continues to train as he awaits the final verdict of the Australian immigration authorities (Mark Baker/AP). (AP)
Novak Djokovic continues to train as he awaits the final verdict of the Australian immigration authorities (Mark Baker/AP). (AP)

Djokovic’s Covid test result scrutinised

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:51 , Lawrence Ostlere

The validity of Novak Djokovic’s positive Covid test continues to come under scrutiny after an investigation suggested the test was returned 10 days after originally claimed.

German newspaper Der Spiegel alleged that their analysis of the digital version of the test showed a timestamp from the 26 December.

Djokovic received a medical exemption to enter the Australian Open as an unvaccinated player on the basis of a positive test on 16 December, and has since admitted to knowingly breaking isolation rules to attend an interview two days after.

Full story:

Mystery surrounds Novak Djokovic’s positive Covid test

Did Djokovic lie to court?

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:24 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic could face five years in prison if found to have lied about his positive Covid test to Australia authorities.

Djokovic said in a sworn affidavit to the Federal Circuit Court that he was diagnosed with coronavirus on 16 December. “On 16 December 2021, I was tested and diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 (Covid),” he said. The judge eventually ruled that Djokovic should not have his visa revoked and should be allowed to stay in Australia to play tennis.

However, in a statement posted on social media earlier on Wednesday, Djokovic claimed to have been aware of his positive Covid result only on 17 December, not the 16th, which he says explains why he went to public events on the 16th.

The punishment for misleading information to court is a custodial sentence of up to five years.

Full story:

Novak Djokovic could face five years in prison if he misled court over Covid test

Djokovic saga timeline

Wednesday 12 January 2022 15:05 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic has been successful in his fight to quash the decision to rescind his Australian visa in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, paving the way for him to defend his Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

The saga is not finished, however, with a possible three-year ban from the country still hanging over Djokovic’s head given the potential for a discretionary call from the immigration minister to supersede the home affairs minister who was included as part of the court case.

The saga has become a major diplomatic incident with Australians furious that Djokovic, who has openly opposed vaccinations, was granted an exemption to enter the country.

Meanwhile, questions remain over Djokovic’s medical exemption and his positive Covid-19 test, after pictures emerged of the world No. 1 out in public and without a mask just hours after he returned a positive PCR result last month.

Here is a timeline of how the saga has unfolded so far:

Timeline of Novak Djokovic’s visa saga in Australia

Djokovic admits ‘error of judgement’ over interview

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:50 , Lawrence Ostlere

Today’s top story: Novak Djokovic has admitted to making an “error of judgement” by attending an interview with a French journalist while Covid positive. He also said “human error” was behind a mistake made on his Australian entry documents that breached the country’s strict laws on reporting recent travel, as the government weighed whether to deport the player.

Full report:

Novak Djokovic admits attending interview with journalist while Covid positive

Murray earns big win

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:38 , Lawrence Ostlere

Meanwhile, Andy Murray continued preparations for his Australian Open return with a hard-fought victory against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the second round of the Sydney Tennis Classic.

This was a much stiffer examination than his first-round win against world number 345 Viktor Durasovic on Tuesday, with the three-time grand slam winner progressing 6-7 (4) 7-6 (3) 6-3 after over three hours on court.

Andy Murray battles into third round of Australian Open warm-up tournament

Nadal: ‘Justice has spoken'

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:23 , Lawrence Ostlere

Rafael Nadal spoke about Djokovic’s appeal win and says “justice has spoken”.

The world no. 1 won his fight to stay in Australia but more government intervention could come in days. Nadal told Spanish radio station Onda Cero: “Whether or not I agree with Djokovic on some things, justice has spoken and has said that he has the right to participate in the Australian Open and I think it is the fairest decision to do so, if it has been resolved that way.

“I wish him the best of luck. On a personal level, I’d much rather he didn’t play!”

Rafael Nadal says Novak Djokovic should play at the 2022 Australian Open (Getty)
Rafael Nadal says Novak Djokovic should play at the 2022 Australian Open (Getty)

Djokovic appeal win is ‘a victory for free speech'

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:07 , Lawrence Ostlere

The Djokovic family took part in a press conference on Monday where they shared their feelings about the situation and celebrated Djokovic’s appeal win.

His father, Srdan, said it was a victory for freedom of speech: “He fought for freedom of thoughts, freedom of speech. It’s been very, very difficult for us, as for everyone in the world who is free-thinking. But he is extremely strong, a fantastic young man who always tries to help, never to harm.”

Read the full story:

Novak Djokovic’s visa appeal is a victory for free speech, father declares

Djokovic Covid test under scrutiny

Wednesday 12 January 2022 14:02 , Lawrence Ostlere

The validity of Novak Djokovic’s positive Covid test continues to come under scrutiny after an investigation suggested the test was returned 10 days after originally claimed.

German newspaper Der Spiegel alleged that their analysis of the digital version of the test showed a timestamp from the 26 December.

Djokovic received a medical exemption to enter the Australian Open as an unvaccinated player on the basis of a positive test on 16 December, and has since admitted to knowingly breaking isolation rules to attend an interview two days after.

However Der Spiegel have also claimed that the digital test showed a negative result for some time, though a scan of the QR code does now show a Covid positive.

Mystery surrounds Novak Djokovic’s positive Covid test

Australian reporters caught swearing about Djokovic

Wednesday 12 January 2022 13:37 , Lawrence Ostlere

The Novak Djokovic saga continues to rumble on and the latest fallout sees two Australian news reporters commenting on the issue in a manner which was not, presumably, intended to be broadcast.

However, a leaked video from 7News Melbourne shows two reporters discussing the world No1 prior to their show - in far from complimentary terms.

Djokovic won his appeal to be let into the country for the Australian Open, after the Australian Border Force (ABF) had initially detained him, spending several days in an immigration facility which his family had taken great exception to, labelling his treatment like “torture” at one stage. It’s a story which has been prominent across the entire world, especially in Australia where the government, the ATP and the player himself have been criticised by many - with 7News’ on-screen pair joining in.

News reporters caught on camera criticising Novak Djokovic in expletive-filled rant

Djokovic’s father calls on the Queen to intervene

Wednesday 12 January 2022 13:16 , Lawrence Ostlere

In an more unexpected news, Novak Djokovic’s father has called on Queen Elizabeth to intervene in his son Novak Djokovic’s visa drama in Australia.

While Djokovic’s father has also labelled Prime Minister Scott Morrison a “dictator”.

“Autocracy has shown its true face today. Contrary to the decision of the independent court of Australia, dictator Scott ordered the arrest of my son, your world champion, Novak Djokovic, and deportation, banning him from entering the country for three long years,” Srdan Dokovic said. “The court showed that law exists in Australia, but Scott dared to take justice into his own hands.

“I call on the Queen of Britain, Elizabeth, the leader of the Commonwealth, to intervene and protect the human rights of my son Novak Djokovic and to stop the political prosecution that has been carried out against him since he came to Australia,” Mr Djokovic said. “I call on all Australians and the whole world to raise their voice against terror, and the brutal human rights violations of the world’s best tennis player.

“Australia has become a dystopia, a mockery of the free world, they treat Novak Djokovic, my son, your world champion, as a political prisoner. As a terrorist in Guantanamo Bay. They deprive him of the right to play, to individuality, to freedom of opinion,” he said. “But I publicly claim: Political beasts will not break it! The whole world can now see a fake democracy led by one Scott.

“Novak is treated by the Australian government as an enemy of the state, not the best tennis player in the world who has always helped Australia with his donations in philanthropy. He is treated by ethnic racists as a lower-class citizen,” he said. “The truth has come to light, Australia is run by political criminals who do not respect individual rights or court decisions. They do not respect the decisions of their court, they do not respect their legal system.

“As of today, Australia is a banana republic and my son took the cross to go down in history as Spartacus standing on the last line of defence of freedom.

“I call on all non-governmental organisations around the world and all people of good will who believe in justice and democracy, as well as the Queen of Great Britain, to get involved and protect Novak Djokovic from the torture against him.”

Djokovic’s family gives a press conference (EPA)
Djokovic’s family gives a press conference (EPA)

How does politics play a part?

Wednesday 12 January 2022 12:49 , Lawrence Ostlere

The appeal win on Monday has put the Australian government in a tricky situation. Immigration minister Alex Hawke can still deport Djokovic by re-cancelling his visa but the weight of the situation is reflected in how long he is taking to consider it.

A decision is expected on Wednesday with Djokovic continuing his preparations for the Australian Open in the meantime.

Read below for a full piece on what this could mean for the country’s government:

Novak Djokovic case puts Australian government in no-win situation

'Hawke should cancel Djokovic visa’

Wednesday 12 January 2022 12:32 , Lawrence Ostlere

Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke is deciding whether or not to deport Djokovic after he won his appeal yesterday.

The Age are reporting former immigration minister for New Zealand, Sir Kerry Burke, believes he should re-cancel his visa.

In a letter, Burke wrote: “If the law requires everybody entering Australia to have two COVID-19 vaccinations, with appropriate time separation between the first and the second and, if Djokovic cannot meet this test, then his attempt to stay in Australia must fail. That will be Minister Hawke’s call and it should be made.

“I understand Tennis Australia’s desire to have this superstar playing in Melbourne, but the absurdity of every spectator needing to be double-vaccinated in order to watch a non-vaccinated player perform is insulting to millions who followed the rules through trying times and would make your great country a laughing stock.

“Minister Hawke should cancel the visa. His authority is clear.”

Australian PM Morrison criticised by Rudd

Wednesday 12 January 2022 12:19 , Lawrence Ostlere

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has taken aim at current leader Scott Morrison for the way the Djokovic situation has been handled.

The world no. 1 was initially given a medical exemption to enter the country as he had tested positive on 16 December. However, upon arrival his visa was cancelled and he was held at a hotel until his appeal. Djokovic won the appeal to stay in Australia but could be deported in coming days.

Rudd tweeted: “Does Morrison have any idea what his incompetence on #Djokovic has done to Brand Australia in the eyes of the world? Intended as a clever political distraction from his outright negligence on hospitals, boosters, kids’ vaccines and rapid tests. Instead, it’s blown up in his face.”

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Phil Noble/PA) (PA Wire)
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Phil Noble/PA) (PA Wire)

Timeline of a turbulent week

Wednesday 12 January 2022 12:05 , Lawrence Ostlere

Jan 4: Djokovic tweets that he is on his way to the Australian Open under a medical exemption. He writes on Instagram: “I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!!”

Jan 5: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns Djokovic he will be on the “next plane home” if his medical exemption is deemed insufficient, and is adamant Djokovic will not receive preferential treatment.

Jan 5: Djokovic’s visa is cancelled upon his arrival in Melbourne. The Australian Border Force announces that the player “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements for Australia”.

Jan 6: Djokovic is sent to the Park Hotel in Melbourne after being refused a visa. He launches an appeal, which is adjourned until 10am on January 10. Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic says Djokovic is the victim of “persecution”.

Jan 9: Djokovic’s lawyers claim he was granted a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because he recorded a positive Covid-19 test in Serbia on December 16. However, social media posts suggest he attended a number of social events in the days following his apparent diagnosis.

Jan 10: Djokovic’s visa cancellation is quashed by Judge Anthony Kelly, who orders the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention within half-an-hour. Djokovic says he is “pleased and grateful” and wishes to “stay and try to compete”.

Jan 11: Djokovic’s title defence remains in doubt as the Australian Immigration Minister ponders whether to over-ride the court’s ruling, reportedly due to an alleged misleading claim made by Djokovic on his entry form relating to his movements in the 14 days prior to arrival in Australia.

Jan 12: Djokovic admits making an “error of judgement” by attending an interview with a French journalist while Covid positive. He adds that, although he attended a children’s tennis event the day after being tested, he did not receive notification of the positive test until after the event. PA

Djokovic treatment ‘not an insult'

Wednesday 12 January 2022 11:50 , Lawrence Ostlere

Comedian David Baddiel has tweeted about Djokovic and the situation that has unfolded over the past few days. He has suggested the world no. 1’s treatment at the Melbourne airport wasn’t a “terrible insult” to Serbs but just the Border Force treating him as they would other unvaccinated travellers.

Djokovic’s father, Srdan, had suggested at their press conference on Monday that his son was treated harshly because he comes from a “small and impoverished country”.

Srdan said: “Obviously the fact he comes from small and impoverished country was not something big, powerful people liked. They thought they had God-given powers that this world is their world, and it is impossible that a young man from a small, poor country can be the best in their sport.”

But Baddiel believes he wasn’t harshly treated, tweeting: “Is it possible that the Australian Border Force’s decision not to let Djokovic in immediately was not, in fact, a terrible insult to Serbia and Serbs everywhere, but just them applying the same regulations that they would to any other unvaccinated traveller?”

Djokovic is a ‘street fighter’, says Becker

Wednesday 12 January 2022 11:30 , Lawrence Ostlere

Amid the continued confusion, Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker has warned he risks the wrath of the Australian Open crowd if his quest for a record 21st grand slam title is ultimately allowed to continue.

While Serbian fans celebrated outside the court-house on Monday, many Australians, who have endured months of hard lockdowns, remain angry at the current decision to allow the unvaccinated Djokovic to enter the country.

Becker, who coached Djokovic for three seasons from 2014 to 2016, told the BBC: “I’m sure there will be a couple of boos and whistles, but he’s used to that.

“He was always a street-fighter who had to fight the odds and win over the crowd, and it was fascinating in last year’s US Open final when they finally embraced him.

“The crowd will be difficult with him but with each match he starts, he will win the crowd and they will embrace him again. But he is going to have a difficult first week.”

Boris Becker coached Novak Djokovic for three season from 2014 to 2016 (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)
Boris Becker coached Novak Djokovic for three season from 2014 to 2016 (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)

Novak Djokovic latest news

Wednesday 12 January 2022 11:18 , Lawrence Ostlere

Full story:

Novak Djokovic could face five years in prison if he misled court over Covid test

Djokovic could face prison if found to have lied to court

Wednesday 12 January 2022 10:54 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic could face five years in prison if found to have lied about his positive Covid test to Australia authorities.

Djokovic said in a sworn affidavit to the Federal Circuit Court that he was diagnosed with the coronavirus on 16 December. “On 16 December 2021, I was tested and diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 (Covid),” he said.

The judge eventually ruled that Djokovic should not have his visa revoked and should be allowed to stay in Australia to play tennis.

However, in a statement posted on social media earlier today, Djokovic claimed to have been aware of his positive Covid result only on 17 December, not the 16th, which he says is why he went to public events on the 16th.

The punishment for misleading information to court is a custodial sentence of up to five years.

Djokovic trains in Melbourne

Wednesday 12 January 2022 10:30 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic was quietly training on Wednesday in Melbourne as he moves closer to the start of the tournament next Monday.

Novak Djokovic in action training in Melbourne (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic in action training in Melbourne (Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Reuters)
(Reuters)
 (AP)
(AP)

Kyrios back Djokovic to come out firing

Wednesday 12 January 2022 10:19 , Lawrence Ostlere

Australian player Nick Kyrgios, who has emerged as an unlikely ally for his one-time antagonist over the last week, was also of the view that Djokovic would be as strong as ever, if allowed to play.

“He’s going to be very determined to play well, and stick it to everyone,” said the Melbourne Park favourite. “I think he’ll have no problem preparing. I think this is just all added fuel for him, in my opinion. You don’t become a great champion like that without being able to overcome some adversity like this.”

Nick Kyrgios of Australia speaks to the media during the ATP Cup in Sydney (AFP)
Nick Kyrgios of Australia speaks to the media during the ATP Cup in Sydney (AFP)

Djokovic can handle hostility in Melbourne

Wednesday 12 January 2022 10:10 , Lawrence Ostlere

Craig O’Shannessy, who worked as a strategy and tactical analyst for Djokovic, thinks the world No1 has developed techniques for dealing with hostility as he has vied for tennis supremacy with crowd favourites Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal over the years.

“There is no person on the planet who has been subjected to being booed on the tennis court more than him,” the Australian, who now works with compatriot Alex Popyrin, added.

“He has talked about in the past, that when the crowd is chanting ‘Roger’, in his mind he changes the word ‘Roger’ to ‘Novak’ and thrives on it.”

Quite apart from the distraction of the legal issues, Djokovic also faces the prospect of curtailed preparations for the rigours of five-set tennis after five days in detention.

On Wednesday, the Serbian practiced on Rod Laver Arena for a second time and O’Shannessy said the 20-times major winner would slowly build the intensity of his sessions.

“He needs to take a couple of days to build back his consistency, shot tolerance, timing and movement,” he said.

“(He will) tick all those boxes first with light hitting, then start ramping up the power and footwork with practice sets to build a strong base towards being raring to go in the first round.”

This will be the first time Djokovic has kicked off his season in the Australian Open main draw without taking part in any kind of warm-up event, be it an ATP tournament, exhibition or team competition.

O’Shannessy doubted that would be a big factor given the 34-year-old just missed out on a Grand Slam last season -- winning three of the sport’s major titles and losing in the final of the other.

“It would matter if he was out of form, but he is not out of form. He almost won the Grand Slam last year,” he said.

“Even though he didn’t win the Grand Slam, it was still one of the greatest years we have ever seen. That success he enjoyed in 2021 is very relevant in his mind. He is still feeding off that in 2022.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Djokovic could get cold shoulder in dressing room

Wednesday 12 January 2022 09:58 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic is expected to get a hostile reception at Melbourne Park once the tournament gets under way and the dressing room might not be the most welcoming place either, with some players resentful that he is not vaccinated.

The ATP says 97 of the top 100 men are vaccinated and American world number 93 Tennys Sandgren has skipped the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January, because of the double-dose mandate.

World number 140 Joao Sousa, who is trying to qualify for the main draw this week, said it was difficult for other players to accept that Djokovic could play without being vaccinated.

“I can be empathetic with what he is going through in Australia, but it is a bit selfish from him to arrive here as the only player unvaccinated,” he told Portuguese news site Bolamarela.

“It is tough for us players to accept that. Many players ... didn’t want to get vaccinated and were forced to do it to be able to play tournaments. He is finding a way around those rules.”

Marton Fucsovics, who lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year, expressed similar sentiments.

“(The) rules were outlined months ago, namely that everyone should vaccinate themselves, and Djokovic didn’t,” he told Hungarian media from Melbourne. “From this point of view, I don’t think he would have the right to be here.”

Djokovic not the only player caught in storm

Wednesday 12 January 2022 09:50 , Lawrence Ostlere

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has raised concerns about doubles specialist Renata Voracova, who left Australia on Friday after her visa was cancelled, saying the Czech player followed the rules and had done nothing wrong.

Voracova, who also had a COVID-19 exemption and was detained after Djokovic’s arrival, had been in Australia for several days and taken part in a warm-up event.

“We will continue to work with authorities on addressing this unfortunate situation in an appropriate manner,” the WTA said in a statement.

told Luxembourg TV channel RTL Today she would consider legal action if Tennis Australia did not compensate her for travel expenses and potential lost prize money.

Renata Voracova has reportedly been detained by officials (Getty Images for LTA)
Renata Voracova has reportedly been detained by officials (Getty Images for LTA)

Djokovic facing more questions before Australian Open

Wednesday 12 January 2022 09:43 , Lawrence Ostlere

Border Force officials are set to ask Djokovic more questions around his entry to Australia and this time it will be focused on travel before arrival.

Djokovic said he had not travelled anywhere before getting to Melbourne but footage has emerged showing him in Spain.

On his ATD form, which was presented in court by Djokovic’s legal team, the answer “No” was selected under the question: “Have you travelled, or will you travel, in the 14 days prior to your flight to Australia?”

Under the question there is a note that states: “Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information.”

Djokovic still at risk of deportation

Wednesday 12 January 2022 09:26 , Lawrence Ostlere

Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, is consider whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January (next Monday).

Giving false or misleading information on the form is an offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison, and a fine of up to A$6,60 and can lead to cancellation of the offender’s visa.

Djokovic, who is seeking to win a record 21st tennis major at the Open, said his lawyers had provided additional information to the Australian government on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Hawke, who has the discretionary power to again cancel Djokovic’s visa, said the consideration process would be extended to assess the new information.

Djokovic saga damaging for everyone, says ATP

Wednesday 12 January 2022 09:11 , Lawrence Ostlere

The controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic’s entry into Australia has been “damaging on all fronts”, according to the men’s professional tennis tour.

In a statement, released after Djokovic won his appeal against deportation from the country on Monday, the ATP said they welcomed the outcome the hearing and expressed concern for the world No. 1’s well-being ahead of the Australian Open next week.

The 34-year-old is still awaiting a verdict from Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke, who is considering whether to cancel his visa despite Djokovic’s victory in court.

The decision to grant Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, a medical exemption for the tournament caused controversy in Australia, which has seen some of the world’s strictest lockdowns and vaccination rules during the pandemic.

“The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of Covid-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place,” the organisation said.

“In travelling to Melbourne, it’s clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations.

“Player medical exemption requests are made independently of ATP, however we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia to seek clarity throughout this process.

“We welcome the outcome of Monday’s hearing and look forward to an exciting few weeks of tennis ahead.”

Novak Djokovic Australian visa saga ‘damaging on all fronts’, ATP admits

Djokovic likely to face hostility in Melbourne

Wednesday 12 January 2022 09:01 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic is likely to face hostility both on and off court if he is allowed to play at the Australian Open but a former member of the Serbian’s team thinks the world number one is well-equipped to deal with it.

While Australia’s immigration minister continues to consider whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa on Wednesday, the 20-times Grand Slam champion has been pressing ahead with his preparations for his title defence.

Djokovic’s announcement last week that he had a medical exemption to play despite being unvaccinated was met with uproar in Australia, which is battling an Omicron wave of infections and where more than 90% of the adult population is double vaccinated.

Craig O’Shannessy, who worked as a strategy and tactical analyst for Djokovic, thinks that fury will almost certainly be vocalised by the crowds at Melbourne Park.

“It is not going to be new to him,” he told Reuters. “But even though he has the mental experience and toughness, this has the potential to be at a level, maybe, that we have not seen in tennis.”

Novak Djokovic during a training session on Tuesday (AP)
Novak Djokovic during a training session on Tuesday (AP)

Djokovic still has questions to answer, says Murray

Wednesday 12 January 2022 08:59 , Lawrence Ostlere

Andy Murray has said Novak Djokovic still has questions to answer over his controversial entry into Australia, despite the world No 1 winning an appeal against being deported from the country.

Djokovic is set to defend his Australian Open title after an order to cancel his visa following scrutiny of his medical exemption for the Covid vaccine was quashed in a court hearing.

Djokovic has also yet to address claims that he attended a public event after returning a positive PCR result last month and the player’s family abruptly shut down a press conference when asked whether he had broken self-isolation rules on Monday.

And while Murray, a long-time friend and rival of Djokovic, welcomed his the outcome of the court hearing and his release, the former British No 1 said he must address those remaining questions ahead of the start of the tournament on 17 January.

“It’s positive that he’s not in detention any more,” Murray said.

“Obviously he won in court so that’s a positive thing for him. Hopefully he will be able to concentrate on the tennis now.

“I think there are still a few questions that need to be answered around the isolation and stuff, which I’m sure we’ll hear from him in the next few days.”

Andy Murray says Novak Djokovic still has questions to answer over visa controversy

Fucsovics hits out at Djokovic

Wednesday 12 January 2022 08:56 , Lawrence Ostlere

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Marton Fucsovics has responded to Novak Djokovic’s vaccination exemption by saying he does not think the Serbian had the right to play in the Australian Open.

Speaking to the Hungarian outlet M4Sport, Marton Fucsovics said: “People’s health is paramount, and there are rules that were outlined months ago, namely that everyone should vaccinate themselves – and Djokovic didn’t.

“From this point of view, I don’t think he would have the right to be here.”

The Hungarian world number 38, who lost to Djokovic in last year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals and in the Paris Masters in November, also said he was not alone in thinking it unfair that Djokovic could play in the Gram Slam despite not being vaccinated.

Kyrgios ‘embarrassed’ to be Australian over Djokovic saga

Wednesday 12 January 2022 08:42 , Lawrence Ostlere

Nick Kyrgios admits he is “embarrassed” to be an Australian athlete after the Novak Djokovic visa debacle.

The controversial Australian player is currently isolating after testing positive for Covid, which forced him to withdraw from the Sydney Tennis Classic.

And Kyrgios has hit out at the media over the controversy surrounding Djokovic’s visa and vaccination exemption, while conceding he is “embarrassed” by the whole affair.

“We know that the media like to create s***-storms, with my story and everything going on with Novak,” said Kyrgios, who has tumbled down the world rankings to No 114. “I feel quite embarrassed as an Australian athlete who’s seen what this guy has done for us and for the sport.

“I just don’t think it’s right how we’re handling it, but the media loves to do that, loves to divide.”

Djokovic handed No1 seed

Wednesday 12 January 2022 08:39 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic has been handed the number one seed ahead of the Australian Open men’s draw after winning his appeal to enter the country and compete for a 10th title.

It comes as the the world No. 1 awaits a verdict from Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke, who is considering whether to cancel his visa despite the Serbian’s court victory on Monday.

Djokovic has retuned to training and confirmed he is “focused” on tennis after he was released from an immigration facility, where he had been held since arriving in Australia last week.

Djokovic, who will move clear of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal if he wins a 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne this month, is also facing questions over his positive Covid-19 test and whether false travel information was included on his visa documents.

But the 34-year-old has been named the top seed ahead of Thursday’s Australian Open main draw. The tournament starts on Monday 17 January.

Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev make up the men’s top five.

For the women’s top seeds, Australian Ash Barty remains the No1, with Aryna Sabalenka, Garbine Muguruza, Barbora Krejcikova and Maria Sakkari joining her in the top five.

Djokovic will play ‘even better’ this year

Wednesday 12 January 2022 08:20 , Lawrence Ostlere

Former player Andrew Castle says Novak Djokovic is “stubborn” and having the crowd against him at the Australian Open will make him play “even better”.

Djokovic won his appeal to stay in Australia on Monday after having his visa cancelled for not having sufficient evidence for his medical exemption. However, he could still be deported if Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke decides to re-cancel the visa in coming days.

The situation has many predicting crowds will be against him as he goes for a record 21st grand slam but Castle believes Djokovic will thrive in that environment.

“He’s such a stubborn and hard-working guy on court, if he gets this exemption and if the Australian government don’t supersede the court, I would say that he’s going to tee it up and play,” he told Sky.

“If he can get through two, three, four rounds, and play his way into the tournament - we know how good he is - I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him into the second week of this grand slam once again, because he is so stubborn and so good.

“When it’s time, and the bell rings, he’ll be ready to compete. Sometimes Novak can be even better when everyone is against him than when everyone is for him.”

Novak Djokovic latest news

Wednesday 12 January 2022 08:09 , Lawrence Ostlere

Top story this morning: Novak Djokovic admits to carrying out interview while knowing he had Covid-19.

Novak Djokovic admits attending interview with journalist while Covid positive

Australian Open begins next week

Wednesday 12 January 2022 08:03 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic has dominated the headlines in the build-up to the Australian Open 2022, which runs from 17–30 January.

The men’s No 1 player has had an order for deportation quashed on appeal and has resumed practice at Melbourne Park, and barring any further twists and turns, Djokovic will begin his title defence next week as the No 1 seed.

Nonetheless the tournament is wide open even though Djokovic, the nine-time winner aiming to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slams, is the favourite.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the tournament:

When is Australian Open 2022 draw? Date, time, seeds and full schedule

Djokovic back in training

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:58 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic received an “uncomfortable” reception from fellow players as he took part in a secret training session at the Australian Open on Tuesday, according to reports.

While Djokovic is still facing the possibility of having his visa revoked, as the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke considers whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation, the nine-time Australian Open champion has returned to training ahead of the start of the tournament on 17 January.

Djokovic took part in a training session at the Rod Laver Arena, that was shrouded in secrecy after tournament organisers closed the doors to the practice and cut the live stream of the court.

Tennis Australia later released video of Djokovic practicing with coach Goran Ivanisevic, but the world No1 was also said to have taken part in an indoor gym session.

And according to New York Times reporter Ben Rothenberg, who quoted a source in the facility, “the place went silent with everyone staring. Talk about uncomfortable.”

Novak Djokovic gets ‘uncomfortable’ reception at Australian Open training session

Reporters caught swearing over Djokovic

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:52 , Lawrence Ostlere

A leaked video from 7News Melbourne shows two reporters discussing the world No1 prior to their show - in far from complimentary terms.

Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor’s comments were caught on microphone and camera as they sat behind the newsdesk, with a large image of Djokovic mounted on a screen behind them.

“Whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a***hole,” Maddern can be heard saying. “Whatever way you look at it...It is unfortunate that everyone stuffed up around him. To go out when you know you’re Covid-positive...well, I don’t think he was even Covid-positive.”

“That’s it, he’s an a**hole. He got a bullsh*t f*****g excuse and then fell over his own f*****g lies. It’s just what happens, right, that’s what happened,’ Amor replied.

Full story:

News reporters caught on camera criticising Novak Djokovic in expletive-filled rant

Djokovic still under investigation

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:42 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic remains under investigation by the Australian authorities and it is still possible the immigration minister could cancel his visa, only days before the Australian Open is due to get under way. The Australian Border Force said on Tuesday it was investigating whether Djokovic had made a “false declaration” on his arrival form – Djokovic has blamed this on his agent – which would be grounds for a visa cancellation.

Novak Djokovic issued a statement on Wednesday (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)
Novak Djokovic issued a statement on Wednesday (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Wire)

Novak Djokovic statement

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:38 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic’s statement concludes:

“Today, my team has provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter.

“While I felt it was important to address and clarify misinformation I will not be making any further comment out of utmost respect for the Australian Government and their authorities and the current process.

“It is always an honour and a privilege to play in the Australian Open. The Australian Open is much-loved by players, fans and the community, not just in Victoria and in Australia, but around the globe, and I just want to have the opportunity to compete against the best players in the world and perform before one of the best crowds in the world.”

Novak Djokovic statement

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:36 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic says he made an “error of judgement” attending an interview with L’Equipe while Covid positive, and blames his agent for an “administrative mistake” on his travel form:

“I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.

“While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.

“On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia.

“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur...

Novak Djokovic statement

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:28 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic says he only received his PCR result after attending public events on 16 December:

“I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on 14 December after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with COVID 19.

“Despite having no COVID symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on 16 December which was negative, and out of an abundance of caution, also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day.

“The next day I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, and it was negative.

“I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.

“The next day, on 18 December I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfill a long-standing commitment for a L’Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events except for the L’Equipe interview...

Djokovic attending an event around 16 December (@DjokerNole)
Djokovic attending an event around 16 December (@DjokerNole)

Novak Djokovic statement

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:25 , Lawrence Ostlere

Here is what Novak Djokovic put out on social media overnight:

“I want to address the continuing misinformation about my activities and attendance at events in December in the lead up to my positive PCR COVID test result.

“This is misinformation which needs to be corrected, particularly in the interest of alleviating broader concern in the community about my presence in Australia, and to address matters which are very hurtful and concerning to my family.

“I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with testing obligations...

Novak Djokovic news

Wednesday 12 January 2022 07:14 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic is preparing for the Australian Open at last, after days of uncertainty over him being allowed to enter the country - and even now there remains suggestion he has more questions to answer. Having won his appeal to have his visa application accepted, Djokovic began training in Melbourne ahead of the year’s first big tournament, but received a decidedly uncomfortable reception.

He will yet face further questions, possibly from the Australian Border Force, over claims he misconstrued information on his travel declaration form, saying he had not travelled elsewhere before heading Down Under - despite photos emerging of him training in Spain just before the new year. Andy Murray has acknowledged Djokovic is likely to have to answer questions in public, too, after the isolation controversy, but hopes the Serbian can get back to focusing on tennis now.

On a less-positive note, the ATP has noted that the saga has been “damaging on all fronts” to those involved, while local reporters in Australia have been caught on camera in a foul-mouthed attack on Djokovic, labelling him “lying” and “sneaky” for his behaviour.

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