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Novak Djokovic news LIVE: Tennis star to learn final Australian visa fate after court hearing

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

Novak Djokovic is set to learn his fate after a key court hearing was held on Sunday morning. The world number one’s visa was cancelled by the Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke on Friday for a second time. An appeal was immediately launched 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.

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 from the country.

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” 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.

Novak Djokovic latest news

  • Novak Djokovic set to learn visa fate after key court hearing

  • Australian immigration minister made decision to deport world No 1 on Friday

  • Visa cancelled for a second time over fears of civil unrest

  • Court adjourns to consider verdict

  • Why is Djokovic opposed to the vaccine? Controversial beliefs explained

Court considers verdict over Djokovic visa

05:20 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic, who spent Saturday night in the Park detention hotel, is due to play Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday.

The hearing was adjourned just after 2.30pm local time for the three judges to consider their verdict, with Chief Justice James Allsop saying he expected to announce the outcome later on Sunday but that it could be Monday morning.

Djokovic could’ve had negative effect on public health

05:00 , Ben Burrows

Following a break for lunch, Lloyd moved on to the central issue of whether Djokovic's presence in Australia may have negative consequences for public health.

He referenced Serbia's low vaccination rate and criticism from a Serbian scientist in 2020 that Djokovic's views could influence his compatriots.

"Rightly or wrongly he is perceived to endorse an anti-vaccination view and his presence here is perceived to contribute to that," said Lloyd.

"People of Djokovic's status can influence people who look up to him. That seems to be uncontroversial."

He concluded: "We would say each of the grounds should be dismissed and there should be an order that the applicant pay the minister's costs."

Djokovic ‘an anti-vaccine hero’, court hears

04:45 , Ben Burrows

On the issue of whether Djokovic’s presence would stoke anti-vaccination sentiment, Lloyd made reference to such groups “treating the applicant as a hero”.

Lloyd said: “He’s a high profile person who is in many respects a role model for many people. His presence in Australia would present more strongly to Australians his anti-vaccination views.

“People use high-level athletes to promote ideas and causes all the time. His connection to a cause, whether he wants it or not, is still present.”

Lloyd then spent a considerable amount of time countering the argument of Wood that Hawke had not considered the prospect that deportation could also stoke anti-vaccination sentiment and risk public order.

“The minister was aware his decision to cancel would result in some level of further unrest but the minister was principally concerned that Mr Djokovic’s presence would encourage people to emulate his position and that would put the health of Australians at risk,” said Lloyd.

Australian Open order of play set to be confirmed

04:35 , Ben Burrows

The order of play for the opening day of the Australian Open will be announced shortly, organisers have confirmed.

News of who will play when has been conspicuous by its absence as the tennis world - and the rest of the world for that matter - waits to learn Djokovic’s fate.

But the first day schedule will be published at 4pm Australian time (5am UK).

Minister defends conclusions on Djokovic’s vaccine status

04:25 , Ben Burrows

In response, Stephen Lloyd, representing Hawke, argued that the minister’s conclusions regarding Djokovic’s attitude to vaccination were reasonable.

“His ongoing non-vaccination status is open to infer that a person in the applicant’s position could have vaccinated if he wanted to be,” Lloyd told the court. “That he’s still unvaccinated represents a choice on his part.

“Even before vaccines were available he was against it - his prima facie position was to be against them.

“As far as we’re aware that position hasn’t been updated. The fact that he might change his mind one day doesn’t make the minister’s inference about his views on vaccines not open.”

Djokovic’s presence wouldn’t stoke anti-vaccine sentiment

04:15 , Ben Burrows

There is no evidence Novak Djokovic’s continued presence in Australia would stoke anti-vaccination statement, the Federal Court of Australia heard on Sunday.

The world number one’s lawyer Nick Wood presented his case to the trio of judges who will decide whether to quash the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to re-cancel Djokovic’s visa on the grounds of “health and good order”.

Hawke based his decision on the view that Djokovic’s stance on vaccination could pose a threat to public health in the country if he stays in Melbourne and plays in the Australian Open.

Wood said: “Not a single line of evidence in the material provided any specific or logical foundation whatsoever that the mere presence of Mr Djokovic in Australia in itself may somehow foster anti-vaccination sentiment.

“Is it conceivable that such a consequence might flow from Mr Djokovic’s presence in Australia? That’s not the point. One is looking for historic, past antecedent or evidence on which reasonable conjecture can be made.”

Australian Open order of play yet to be decided

04:05 , Ben Burrows

A reminder that the 2022 Australian Open begins on Monday which is only a few short hours away now Down Under.

Djokovic, of course, is defending champion but whether he will get to defend his 2021 title remains to be seen.

And that is having an impact on the entire field with the order of play for day one in Melbourne seemingly hanging on the decision made in this hearing.

Djokovic out of detention for court hearing

03:50 , Ben Burrows

A reminder that Djokovic spent Saturday night detained back in an immigration hotel but was allowed out to follow this hearing with his lawyers.

Television footage showed the 34-year-old Serb wearing a face mask as he left the hotel in a vehicle earlier.

He was permitted to leave hotel detention to spend Sunday in his lawyers’ offices, under the guard of two immigration officials, while the challenge is heard via a video hearing.

Djokovic spent four nights confined to an immigration hotel near downtown Melbourne before being released last Monday when he won a court challenge on procedural grounds against his first visa cancellation.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the visa, which was originally revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport on 5 January.

Deportation from Australia can lead to a three-year ban on returning to the country, although that may be waived, depending on the circumstances.

 (AP)
(AP)

Court adjourns to consider verdict

03:43 , Ben Burrows

The court has adjourned to consider their verdict.

Judge Allsop in summing up indicates they hope there will be an announcement this afternoon if not later this evening Australian time.

"What we would hope to do is to spend the afternoon hopefully, and perhaps the early evening, dealing with the arguments that have been put to the court, not with a view to delivering full reasons today, but with a view if possible as to reach a view as to the outcome of the matter and on one hypothesis, if it be relevant, Mr Lloyd, the individual basis for it.

"We would hope to do that later in the afternoon. So in a sense we’re not asking counsel and solicitors to stand down in their present positions as it were.

"But we would hope to be in a position to indicate to the parties later in the afternoon what we propose to do."

For reference, it is currently 2.42pm in Melbourne.

Djokovic hoping to be released within 30 minutes

03:32 , Ben Burrows

Should Djokovic win the verdict here, his team have confirmed that they would look for him to be released within 30 minutes of that verdict being made.

On Monday, Judge Kelly made a similar ruling when quashing the original visa verdict.

State concludes their submissions

03:25 , Ben Burrows

Stephen Lloyd has now concluded his oral submissions on behalf of the state.

Nicholas Wood, representing Djokovic, is now permitted a chance to reply to specific state arguments.

Djokovic’s influence used as evidence

03:22 , Ben Burrows

Judge Allsop has again interjected to offer what appears to be another positive for the Australian state case.

To back up the assertion that Djokovic is an individual with great influence over a great number of people, the judge points to the impact of him winning tennis tournaments.

“If Mr Djokovic won the Open – there’s an example, embedded in the minister’s reasons, for young and not so young fans of tennis,” he says.

The state is arguing that allowing Djokovic to stay in Australia would embolden anti-vaccine sentiments in the country.

State points to Serbian vaccination rates

03:18 , Ben Burrows

In support of their argument that Djokovic is a high profile and influential figure, Lloyd is pointing to vaccination rates in Serbia.

He says that an example of just how much influence Djokovic commands "must be highest of all in Serbia"

It is reported that around 59% of the population in Djokovic's home country is vaccinated against Covid-19.

Travel declaration form not part of state’s case against Djokovic

03:10 , Ben Burrows

Interestingly, the state is not using Djokovic’s much-debated travel declaration form as part of its case here.

It came to light last week that Djokovic had falsely claimed that he had not travelled anywhere prior to his arrival in Australia, despite evidence coming to light that he had been in Spain.

However, it has been confirmed that the immigration minister has accepted Djokovic’s explanation for the mistake.

Djokovic later clarified that his agent had filled out the form on his behalf and hadn’t checked Djokovic’s most recent travel movements with him.

Australian Open will be great ‘with or without’ Djokovic

02:55 , Ben Burrows

The Australian Open is more important than a single player and will be a great tournament “with or without” Novak Djokovic, according to Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard has made it clear on a number of occasions that he disagrees with Djokovic’s resistance to Covid-19 vaccination and the degree to which his ongoing visa battle has overshadowed the tournament is clearly a frustration to many.

Speaking at his pre-tournament press conference, Nadal said: “It’s very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players of the history, without a doubt. But there is no one player in history that’s more important than an event.

“Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he’s playing finally, OK. If he’s not playing, Australian Open will be a great Australian Open with or without him.”

 (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

State argues they considered impact of Djokovic deportation

02:49 , Ben Burrows

As before, the consequences of what would happen when Djokovic is or isn’t deported from the country are the subject of intense discussion.

It was earlier argued by Djokovic’s representatives that immigration minister Alex Hawke only considered the impact of allowing the Serbian to stay in the country and not the consequences of what would happen if he is deported.

Again Lloyd contends that any potential unrest in that event “must have been part of consideration of balance” that Hawke took into account.

Court hearing resumes

02:43 , Ben Burrows

The hearing has now resumed after the break for lunch.

Stephen Lloyd, representing immigration minister Alex Hawke at this hearing, has returned to his counter arguments to back up the state’s case that Djokovic should be deported from Australia.

In terms of the process that will be followed he will complete his oral submissions before the judges will retire to consider their verdict.

State counters Djokovic’s argument

02:36 , Ben Burrows

Earlier, on the issue of whether Djokovic’s presence would stoke anti-vaccination sentiment, Lloyd made reference to such groups “treating the applicant as a hero”.

Lloyd said: “He’s a high profile person who is in many respects a role model for many people. His presence in Australia would present more strongly to Australians his anti-vaccination views.

“People use high-level athletes to promote ideas and causes all the time. His connection to a cause, whether he wants it or not, is still present.”

Lloyd then spent a considerable amount of time countering the argument of Wood that Hawke had not considered the prospect that deportation could also stoke anti-vaccination sentiment and risk public order.

“The minister was aware his decision to cancel would result in some level of further unrest but the minister was principally concerned that Mr Djokovic’s presence would encourage people to emulate his position and that would put the health of Australians at risk,” said Lloyd.

Court hearing set to resume

02:28 , Ben Burrows

The court hearing is set to resume shortly after a short break for lunch.

Novak Djokovic’s legal team have made their oral submissions to back up their argument that the world number one’s visa to enter Australia should be reinstated.

The Australian Open, where the Serbian is a nine-time winner and is defending champion, begins on Monday.

Stephen Lloyd, representing immigration minister Alex Hawke at this hearing, has begun his counter arguments to back up the state’s case that Djokovic should be deported and is set to pick up where he left off shortly.

Djokovic’s legal team make their case against visa cancellation

02:13 , Ben Burrows

For those just joining us, Novak Djokovic is set to learn whether he will be granted a visa to play at the Australian Open or will instead be deported from the country at a Federal Court hearing this morning.

The world number one’s lawyer Nick Wood earlier today presented his case to the trio of judges who will decide whether to quash the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to re-cancel Djokovic’s visa on the grounds of “health and good order”.

Hawke based his decision on the view that Djokovic’s stance on vaccination could pose a threat to public health in the country if he stays in Melbourne and plays in the tournament.

Wood said: “Not a single line of evidence in the material provided any specific or logical foundation whatsoever that the mere presence of Mr Djokovic in Australia in itself may somehow foster anti-vaccination sentiment.

“Is it conceivable that such a consequence might flow from Mr Djokovic’s presence in Australia? That’s not the point. One is looking for historic, past antecedent or evidence on which reasonable conjecture can be made.”

Murray ‘won’t kick Djokovic when he’s down'

01:55 , Ben Burrows

Andy Murray refused to double down on the criticism of Novak Djokovic as the saga around his visa continues.

“It’s not a good situation. I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak whilst he’s down,” Murray said on Friday. “I mean, I said it the other day, it’s not a good situation for anyone.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s ended up in this sort of situation, and who knows? I don’t know what the process is from now. I don’t know what route he goes down, if he can appeal that and how long that takes, and can he still be out practising whilst that process is going on or still competing in the tournament?

“I just want it obviously to get resolved. I think it could 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. Obviously a lot of people have criticised the government here, as well. It’s not been good.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Visa decision would cause ‘some level of unrest'

01:41 , Ben Burrows

Lloyd said that immigration minister Alex Hawke was very aware his decision to rescind Djokovic's visa for a second time could result in "some level of unrest" in the country.

However, despite that he also claims that it was his "primary concern that Djokovic’s presence would encourage people to emulate his position and that would put the health of Australians at risk."

"His connection to a cause - whether he wants it or not - is still present,” he said.

Djokovic’s lawyers earlier argued that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to back this assertion up.

Court hearing adjourns for lunch

01:31 , Ben Burrows

The court has adjourned for a short break for lunch.

Mr Lloyd, speaking here on behalf of the state, concludes before the break by revealing that he has about another hour of submissions to make.

That, along with the current break, should mean we get a verdict one way or another in the next few hours.

State continues case for Djokovic’s deportation

01:28 , Ben Burrows

The consequences of whether to deport Djokovic or not is going to be key to the outcome here.

Djokovic’s lawyers earlier claimed that immigration minister Alex Hawke didn’t consider the impact of deporting their client, only the consequences of allowing him to stay.

Stephen Lloyd, speaking here on behalf of Mr Hawke, essentially counters by claiming that it is impossible to know what Mr Hawke did and didn’t consider and that he isn’t required to make explicitly state all of the reasons he used to come to his decision.

Minister had required evidence to make visa decision

01:22 , Ben Burrows

The state has countered the earlier claims that the immigration minister didn’t consider all of the evidence when making his decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa.

Mr Hawke “had material that was before him, that was relevant, that was taken into account”, his legal representative present for this hearing says.

Djokovic’s vaccine status key

01:16 , Ben Burrows

The state are pointing to the fact that Djokovic could have been vaccinated if he'd chosen to be so.

They claim they don't need to rely on Djokovic publicly stating that he was or wasn't.

"It is open to infer that a person in the applicant’s position could have been vaccinated if he had wanted to be," they say.

They point to the fact that Djokovic was openly against vaccines, even before the Covid pandemic.

The consequences of Djokovic decision

01:10 , Ben Burrows

The differing consequences of allowing Djokovic to stay as opposed to those that would come about should he be deported are under discussion.

One of the judges suggests that rescinding Djokovic's visa could cause "overwhelming public discord and risks of transmission through very large public gatherings".

The state's lawyer counters by claiming that allowing "a high profile person who is in many respects a role model" to stay under the current circumstances posed a bigger risk.

He also states that Alex Hawke was "obviously" aware of the reaction that his decision could cause.

State able to rely on common sense

01:05 , Ben Burrows

Lloyd, acting on behalf of immigration minister Alex Hawke, has pointed to a recent interjection from one of the judges which stated that the minister is entitled to use common sense when making his decision to rescind a visa and isn’t required to solely rely upon material evidence.

This in theory is a big positive for the state’s case against Djokovic here.

“We certainly embrace the view that it is not limited to evidence before a court, administrative decision-makers usually inform themselves by a much broader range of materials,” he says.

Djokovic a low risk of transmission

00:55 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic’s legal team also claimed that their client poses a very low risk of transmission of the disease should he be allowed to enter the country officially.

They said his recent infection and the additional safety protocols around the Australian Open itself make it very unlikely he could be a problem from a public health point of view.

The Serbian tested positive for the virus back in December.

Djokovic being treated like a ‘weapon of mass destruction’

00:45 , Ben Burrows

One person who is definitely in Djokovic’s corner is Nick Kyrgios.

The Australian tennis player hasn’t always seen eye to eye with the Serbian but has been heavily critical of his treatment by his country this week.

“We’re treating him like he’s a weapon of mass destruction at the moment,” he said.

“The mistreating of the people of Melbourne over the past two years has been atrocious, and I understand the anger towards him being unvaccinated and the medical exemption, I understand that.

“Now I feel like the people, no matter what Novak does, they’re just going to say ‘get him out of our country’.”

State begin their arguments

00:36 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic’s legal team, led by Nicholas Wood, have concluded their submissions.

Stephen Lloyd, acting on behalf of immigration minister Alex Hawke and with him the state, has now begun his submission.

Djokovic not an anti-vaccine hero

00:35 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic’s legal team have contended the assertion that their client has become a kind of hero for the anti-vaccine movement in the country.

The claim is part of the government’s reasoning for rescinding the Serbian’s visa for a second time.

They say that if that were the case then there would have been protests and rallies to that end, something they say has not been the case.

“If there was any foundation for thinking his presence and participation at a tournament would lead to this anti-vax feeling, one would expect to see it supported by something (like protests or rallies)” they say.

Why does Djokovic oppose the vaccine?

00:25 , Ben Burrows

This whole saga wouldn’t have happened if Djokovic had been vaccinated against Covid-19.

So why isn’t he?

Djokovic confirmed he isn’t vaccinated in an interview with Border Force officials when he arrived in Australia 10 days ago, but he hasn’t extensively discussed why he doesn’t want to have it.

However, he does have his reasons.

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

State did not consider ‘binary alternative'

00:19 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic's lawyers have continued to hammer home their argument against the decision to rescind their client's visa for a second time.

They say that while the state pointed to what would happen in the country if they allowed Djokovic to stay and play they did not consider the "binary alternative" and the consequences of deporting the Serbian.

"It is somewhat perverse to adopt such a narrow focal point or lens on the 133(c)(a) question and to blinker oneself only to risks related to presence, when there is evidence before you of the risks related to the binary alternative", they say.

Djokovic’s legal team argue their case

00:13 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic lawyers claim that the state has provided no evidence to back up their claim that granting Djokovic a visa would hamper the rollout of the vaccine in the country or that it has seen a rise in the anti-vaccine movement.

“There is no logical connection there whatsoever,” they say. “The anti-vax protests have been directed to action by the state.”

Hundreds gather to support Djokovic

00:07 , Ben Burrows

Hundreds of activists held a peaceful rally outside the Melbourne Park complex that hosts the Australian Open, and planned another for Monday.

“We’re at Rod Laver Arena to support Novak. He’s won nine (Australian Open) titles here. Hopefully this will be No. 10 - if he can get out of quarantine and get his visa back,” Harrison McLean, one of the rally organizers, said.

“We’re a peaceful movement, here to raise awareness and support everyone’s freedom of choice.”

Fans flock to watch hearing live stream

00:02 , Ben Burrows

More than 85,000 people are currently tuned into the live stream of the hearing.

Who knew that immigration legal proceedings had so many devoted fans?

Nothing to do with the most famous tennis player in the world being involved, obviously...

How do you overturn the decision?

Saturday 15 January 2022 23:50 , Ben Burrows

Because the minister’s power is so broad and discretionary, grounds for appeal are potentially fewer than they are for a decision of a public servant acting on a minister’s authority. But courts have overturned ministers’ decisions in the past.

The immigration minister’s powers are among the broadest provided under Australian law, said Greg Barns, a lawyer experienced in visa cases.

“One of the criticisms of this particular power is that it is so broad and it’s effectively allowing the minister to play God with someone’s life,” Barns said.

“It’s inevitable that political considerations would form part of the decision because that concept of public interest is so broad that it allows a minister to effectively take into account political considerations, even though theoretically that ought not be done,” Barnes added.

Political considerations are heightened for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition with an election due by May at the latest.

Although Australia has one of the highest rates of Covid-19 vaccination in the world, the government is concerned by Djokovic’s popularity among those who are opposed to vaccine mandates or skeptical of the vaccines’ efficacy.

Djokovic’s lawyers don’t accept that those sentiments are a legitimate reason to deny the sporting star an attempt at a record 21 Grand Slam titles.

Djokovic’s vaccine views under the microscope

Saturday 15 January 2022 23:40 , Ben Burrows

The court has heard that the immigration minister did not seek any further information on Djokovic's vaccine views.

A BBC article was cited by the minister as evidence of the world number one’s stance on the vaccine.

But Djokovic's legal team claim that excerpts of the article including that he was “no expert”, wanted to “keep an open mind” and “wanted to choose an option that is best for my body” are not anti-vaccine as such and shouldn't have been taken as so.

The article in question was published after the original decision and Djokovic’s lawyers claim it was the actions of the state, rather than their client, that caused any rise in anti-vaccine sentiment in the country.

“The only evidence is anti-vax group anger and agitation in response to action by the state to cancel him and thereby to set in train a course of events that would... have led to his expulsion and statutory consequences impairing his capacity to come back to this country.”

Defence for Djokovic from Zverev

Saturday 15 January 2022 23:30 , Ben Burrows

Alexander Zverev made a spirited defence of embattled world number one Novak Djokovic on Saturday, saying his legacy will not be tarnished by the visa saga which has rocked the tennis world ahead of the Australian Open.

Djokovic’s determination to play in the tournament without vaccination angered the Australian public and drew criticism from fellow players but third seed Zverev said he was still a towering figure in the sport.

“I don’t know what the perception around the fans is,” he told reporters. “I know that in the sport he’s still seen one of the greatest players because his achievements are not taken away.

“He still won 20 Grand Slams. He still has the most weeks as world number one. He still has the most Masters Series (titles). Still for me, one of the greatest players of all time.

“This is obviously not a nice thing for everyone, for him especially. But don’t question his legacy because of this.”

Djokovic out of detention for hearing

Saturday 15 January 2022 23:20 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic spent Saturday night detained back in an immigration hotel after his lawyers had a morning meeting with immigration officials.

Television footage showed the 34-year-old Serb wearing a face mask as he sat in a vehicle near the hotel.

He is permitted to leave hotel detention to spend Sunday in his lawyers’ offices, under the guard of two immigration officials, while the challenge is heard via a video hearing.

Djokovic spent four nights confined to an immigration hotel near downtown Melbourne before being released last Monday when he won a court challenge on procedural grounds against his first visa cancellation.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke on Friday blocked the visa, which was originally revoked when he landed at a Melbourne airport on 5 January.

Deportation from Australia can lead to a three-year ban on returning to the country, although that may be waived, depending on the circumstances.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

How did Australian immigration minister exercise his power

Saturday 15 January 2022 23:11 , Ben Burrows

In Djokovic’ s case, Australian government lawyers warned him that the minister was planning to intervene on Monday when a judge reinstated his visa. The star athlete’s high profile might have encouraged the government to appear even handed.

Djokovic’s lawyers provided evidence for why he was entitled to keep his visa and be allowed to defend his Australian Open title in the days before the minister acted.

While Hawke has sweeping discretion to define public interest in canceling a visa, he must also be thoughtful and detailed in his reasoning.

“These decisions aren’t straightforward. There is case law which compels a minister when exercising this power personally to have active intellectual engagement with the materials and with the decision,” immigration lawyer Kian Bone said.

“It’s not something that he (Hawke) can have a one-liner saying: ‘Dear Mr. Djokovic, your visa is canceled.’ He can’t have a bureaucrat or a staffer write a decision for him, look at it for two minutes and sign off on it,” Bone added.

Quick decision needed on Djokovic visa

Saturday 15 January 2022 23:03 , Ben Burrows

The need for a quick decision - either way - isn’t lost on the judges presiding over this hearing.

“Unless the court... finalised the matter by today or tomorrow, any right of appeal of Djokovic if he lost would or may be at least in part be made [useless] because of proximity of the commencement of the event being the purpose of his visit,” one says.

The Australian Open, where Djokovic is slated to play Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round, begins on Monday.

Tennis players tired of Djokovic saga

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:55 , Ben Burrows

Australian Open players are tired of the Novak Djokovic saga overshadowing the year’s first Grand Slam and want the spotlight back on the tennis, Australian number one Alex de Minaur said on Saturday.

The leadup has been completely dominated by world number one Djokovic’s battle to compete in the tournament in the face of a government trying to deport him after cancelling his visa twice.

“I think first of all, this whole situation has taken a lot of spotlight away from us competitors,” the 32nd seed told reporters at Melbourne Park.

“We’re here to play the Australian Open. We’re here on our own terms ready to compete, hopefully have a very good couple weeks.

“It feels like it’s taking away from us competitors who just want to start. We’re just eager to go out and compete. The Australian Open is always an incredible event, my home Slam, my favourite tournament.

“To be honest, I’m just ready to put all of this behind me and focus on playing my tennis matches, kind of let my tennis do the talking.”

Why Australia cancelled Djokovic’s visa for a second time

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:45 , Ben Burrows

Hawke has a “personal power” to cancel Djokovic’s visa under Section 133C of the Migration Act 1958.

Hawke needed to be satisfied that Djokovic’s presence in Australia “maybe, or would or might be, a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community.”

The minister also needed to be satisfied that ordering Djokovic’s deportation would be in the ”public interest,” a term which has no legal definition.

Unlike the decision of a government underling, the “rules of natural justice do not apply” to a minister’s decision. That means the minister did not have to tell Djokovic he was planning to deport him.

Hawke could have canceled Djokovic’s visa in secret and then notified the Serbian tennis star days later that he had to go. Had the Australian Border Force come to detain Djokovic, they would legally have had to reveal only then that he had no visa.

Under Section 133F of the Act, Djokovic could have then requested the minister reverse his decision, but the only realistic option would have been to appeal it in court.

Who is who in the courtroom

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:39 , Ben Burrows

As a reminder for those who weren’t with us on Monday morning, these are the key players.

Nick Wood SC and Paul Holdenson QC are again representing Djokovic.

Stephen Lloyd SC and Christopher Tran are representing immigration minister Alex Hawke.

The judges presiding over the hearing are Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan.

Djokovic visa hearing underway

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:35 , Ben Burrows

Hawke’s decision to rescind Djokovic’s visa for a second time was essentially based on the fact that, in his opinion, to grant him access to the country would encourage anti-vaccine sentiments.

Djokovic’s legal team will argue that Hawke's decision failed to consider the consequences of cancellation and that Djokovic’s presence in Australia isn't in fact a risk.

They will also contend the assertion that Djokovic is an anti-vaxxer.

The hearing is underway.

Djokovic visa decision likely to be final

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:30 , Ben Burrows

The hearing is set to take place before three judges.

Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan will be in place at the Federal Court.

That there are three judges for the hearing means the decision made is likely to be final.

Djokovic pictured ahead of key hearing

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:28 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic has been pictured ahead of this key hearing.

Whether he is able to defend his Australian Open title will be decided tonight - at least in theory.

As ever with this story, anything really could happen.

 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)

Djokovic waits on visa decision

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:25 , Ben Burrows

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.

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.

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.

Djokovic waits on visa decision

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:18 , Ben Burrows

Hawke 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.

Djokovic waits on visa decision

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:14 , Ben Burrows

Djokovic is due to play his first-round match at the Australian Open against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

A timetable was agreed on Friday, with Djokovic to be detained at 8am on Saturday morning for a meeting with immigration officials before meeting with his lawyers, also under detention.

The world number one is appealing against the decision on the grounds that it was both affected by jurisdictional error and irrational, but the threshold for success is much higher than in the first hearing.

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”.

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.

Djokovic set to learn visa fate

Saturday 15 January 2022 22:13 , Ben Burrows

Novak Djokovic is set for his appeal against the re-cancellation of his visa on Sunday morning at the Federal Court of Australia.

After meeting with his lawyers for several hours, Djokovic was driven to the same immigration hotel where he spent four nights last week for what he will hope will be the final night.

The world number one’s legal team have been preparing his case following the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”.

A brief procedural hearing was held on Saturday morning, where Justice David O’Callaghan confirmed the case has been transferred from the Federal Circuit Court and that the main hearing will take place at 9.30am on Sunday (10.30pm on Saturday UK time).

Murray refused to “kick Djokovic when he was down"

Saturday 15 January 2022 21:10 , Sarah Rendell

Murray lost the ATP final but after his semi-final he was asked about the Djokovic situation.

He said: “It’s not a good situation. I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak whilst he’s down. I mean, I said it the other day, it’s not a good situation for anyone.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s ended up in this sort of situation, and who knows? I don’t know what the process is from now. I don’t know what route he goes down, if he can appeal that and how long that takes, and can he still be out practising whilst that process is going on or still competing in the tournament?

“I just want it obviously to get resolved. I think it could 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. Obviously a lot of people have criticised the government here, as well. It’s not been good.”

Andy Murray refuses to ‘kick Novak Djokovic when he’s down’

Why does Djokovic oppose the vaccine?

Saturday 15 January 2022 20:50 , Sarah Rendell

Djokovic confirmed he isn’t vaccinated in an interview with Border Force officials but he hasn’t extensively discussed why he doesn’t want to have it.

Our reporter Tom Kershaw has written a piece on it and he writes: “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.”

Read the full piece:

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

Timeline of events

Saturday 15 January 2022 20:30 , Sarah Rendell

Ahead of a decisive day in the Djokovic visa saga, it’s worth taking a look back at what has happened since he arrived in Australia.

He has had his visa cancelled twice with one appeal successful. The case is now in the Federal Court of Australia and Djokovic has been detained.

He will hope it is wrapped up on Sunday in order to get his Australian Open title defence underway. But what has happened so far? Here’s all you need to know:

Timeline of Novak Djokovic’s visa saga in Australia

All you need to know about the Australian Open

Saturday 15 January 2022 20:10 , Sarah Rendell

The focus is on Djokovic in the lead up to the Australian Open but there is a lot more to know than just the top men’s seed.

The tournament begins on Monday where wild card Andy Murray will hope to bask in glory and Emma Raducanu will take to the grand slam court once more.

But what else do you need to know? Here’s all the information:

When does the Australian Open start and how can I watch it?

Decision day incoming for Djokovic

Saturday 15 January 2022 19:50 , Sarah Rendell

A decision on Djokovic’s visa could be made on Sunday and if the tennis player wins he will have just 24 hours to prepare for his first match of the Australian Open.

If he loses he will be deported from Australia with the potential of being banned for three years.

He will hope to defend his Australian Open title and bag a record 21st grand slam in men’s tennis.

How did Djokovic saga unfold?

Saturday 15 January 2022 18:54 , Jamie Braidwood

ICYMI: Djokovic has been in Australia for almost 10 days and his visa has been cancelled twice.

The first time he was detained at a Melbourne airport as he was viewed as a health risk as he hadn’t had the Covid vaccine. He won an appeal to remain in Australia but immigration minister Alex Hawke had the power to cancel it again.

He exercised his right to do so on Friday but Djokovic and his team are hitting back with the case now heading for the Federal Court of Australia.

But how did he get to this point and why? Here’s all you need to know:

How Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa saga unfolded

Why was Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa cancelled again and what happens now?

Saturday 15 January 2022 18:16 , Jamie Braidwood

Novak Djokovic’s battle to compete in the Australian Open has taken another turn after his visa was cancelled for a second time.

After four days of deliberation, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided to use his personal powers and reimpose the penalty on the world number one after it was overturned by a judge on Monday.

But the parties have already been back in court and a resolution to this saga will not come until Sunday at the earliest.

Here, we answer the key questions regarding the situation and looks at what happens next.

Why was Novak Djokovic’s visa cancelled again and what happens now?

Immigration minister sets out case against Djokovic

Saturday 15 January 2022 17:46 , Jamie Braidwood

On Friday, Australian immigration minister Alex 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.

Visa cancelled over fears of civil unrest, says immigration minister

Saturday 15 January 2022 17:16 , Jamie Braidwood

Novak Djokovic’s release from detention on Monday resulted in police pepper spraying his supporters and Australian immigration minister Alex 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.

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.

Serbia react to Djokovic visa cancellation

Saturday 15 January 2022 16:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Nemanja Starovic, a senior official in the foreign ministry of Serbia, has said Djokovic is being “treated like a criminal” in Australia.

Djokovic has his visa cancelled for a second time with the case now being moved to the Federal Court of Australia.

Starovic told BBC: “We have seen other tennis players who didn’t respect their mandatory isolation but they haven’t received the same treatment as Novak.”

He added Serbia are asking Australia not to hold Djokovic in a detainment centre again despite it being agreed amongst both parties in a hearing earlier today.

He said: “He doesn’t deserve that. He’s not an illegal migrant. Relations between our two countries have always been friendly and public opinion about Australia was always strong here in Serbia.

“Unfortunately he was treated like a criminal, so this could potentially damaged the relations between two countries.”

Why does Djokovic oppose the vaccine?

Saturday 15 January 2022 16:04 , Jamie Braidwood

Djokovic has made a few controversial statements about vaccines over the past few years and admitted he does not have the Covid vaccine when he entered Australia.

Our reporter Tom Kershaw has written about how Djokovic has articulated his beliefs and what they are.

He wrote: “He is adamant that he can find “basic ways to survive” by tapping into the strength of his own body, be it when fighting a virus or an injury, without needing to resort to outside intervention.

“Sometimes, that belief has elicited comic moments, such as when Djokovic teamed up with Pepe Imaz, a coach-cum-spiritual guide, whose techniques included the power of extremely long hugs. Around that same time, Djokovic began extolling the virtues of telekinesis and telepathy and referred to “gifts from a higher order, the source, the god, whatever, that allows us to understand the higher power and higher order in ourselves”.

Full piece:

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

How Djokovic plans to fight deportation in court

Saturday 15 January 2022 15:44 , Jamie Braidwood

Novak Djokovic won his first legal round against Australian authorities who want to deport him - but the world No 1 now faces a formidable challenge tonight in his second round as he takes on the Australian immigration minister on questions of visas and public interest.

Djokovic won his court appeal this week against a border official’s decision to cancel his visa. He won over procedural errors related to Australia’s confusing Covid-19 vaccination regulations.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke’s intervention on Friday to cancel the visa a second time for what Djokovic’s lawyers describe as “radically different” reasons pits Djokovic against Australian politics and the law.

Here’s how the Serbian plans to win the case:

EXPLAINER: How Djokovic plans to fight deportation in court

Three judges to hear Djokovic’s case

Saturday 15 January 2022 15:16 , Jamie Braidwood

Three judges at the Federal Court of Australia will hear Novak Djokovic‘s challenge against the government’s cancellation of his visa at a hearing on Sunday that could deliver the final on a saga that has gripped the country and the sporting world.

The unvaccinated tennis superstar is hoping to be allowed to stay to play in the Australian Open, which commences on Monday, in a bid to win a record 21 Grand Slams.

“This matter will be heard by a full court of the Federal Court of Australia comprised of Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan,” The court said on Saturday. A decision made by the full court will be final and parties won’t be able to appeal against the verdict.

Zverev defends Djokovic ahead of court case

Saturday 15 January 2022 14:49 , Jamie Braidwood

Alexander Zverev defended Novak Djokovic ahead of the start of the Australian Open, saying that the world No 1’s legacy will not be tarnished by the controversy surrounding his Australian visa.

“I don’t know what the perception around the fans is,” he told reporters. “I know that in the sport he’s still seen one of the greatest players because his achievements are not taken away.

“He still won 20 Grand Slams. He still has the most weeks as world number one. He still has the most Masters Series (titles). Still for me, one of the greatest players of all time.

“This is obviously not a nice thing for everyone, for him especially. But don’t question his legacy because of this.”

Osaka adopts relaxed mood before launching title defence

Saturday 15 January 2022 14:23 , Jamie Braidwood

Also, the positive feelings are back for Naomi Osaka as she prepares to begin the defence of her Australian Open title.

The 24-year-old appeared to have established herself as the best player in the world when, for the second time in her career, she followed up a US Open crown with success in Melbourne 12 months ago.

But she played only three tournaments after withdrawing from the French Open in May amid a furore over her refusal to take part in press conferences.

Osaka made public her battles with depression and, although she resurfaced at the Olympics in Tokyo, it was clear all was still not well and a third-round loss at the US Open proved to be her final match of the season.

Now ranked 14, Osaka is back and looked happy and relaxed during three matches in Melbourne last week before pulling out of the WTA Tour event with a minor injury.

“I was a bit nervous about how I would play after being on the break,” she said. “I think I learned with every match that I played. For me, that was the most important part. Hopefully I’m able to apply the things I learned.”

More here:

Naomi Osaka adopts relaxed mood before launching Australian Open title defence

Murray foiled in Sydney Tennis Classic final

Saturday 15 January 2022 13:48 , Jamie Braidwood

In news on the court today, Andy Murray’s bid for a first title in more than two years ended with defeat by Russia’s Aslan Karatsev in the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic.

The Scot put together his best week since claiming his 46th career title in Antwerp in October 2019 but he found himself outmuscled by the blistering power of Karatsev.

The top seed thumped winners from all parts of the court and wrapped up a 6-3 6-3 victory for his third title on the ATP Tour.

Defeat means the 34-year-old must also wait to make it back into the top 100 but he can head to Melbourne with confidence for the Australian Open and a rematch with Nikoloz Basilashvili – who he beat in the second round this week – on Tuesday.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 13:22 , Jamie Braidwood

After a hastily convened appearance by both legal teams on Friday evening, following the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”, a brief procedural hearing was held on Saturday morning.

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”.

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.

What time is Djokovic’s hearing tonight?

Saturday 15 January 2022 12:58 , Jamie Braidwood

Djokovic’s appeal against the re-cancellation of his visa has been confirmed for Sunday morning (tonight in the UK) at the Federal Court of Australia.

After a hastily convened appearance by both legal teams on Friday evening, following the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”, a brief procedural hearing was held on Saturday morning.

In it, Justice David O’Callaghan confirmed the case has been transferred from the Federal Circuit Court and that the main hearing will take place at 9.30am on Sunday (10.30pm on Saturday UK time).

Djokovic is due to play his first-round match at the Australian Open against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

Djokovic detained by border officials

Saturday 15 January 2022 12:36 , Jamie Braidwood

A reminder of today’s big news, Novak Djokovic has been detained by Australian border officials in line with the arrangement agreed in court as the world’s number one tennis player fights on to remain in the country.

Djokovic has had his visa revoked twice by immigration officials ahead of the Australian Open because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, and saw immigration minister Alex Hawke again deny his application on Friday.

The 34-year-old Serbian is accused of providing false information on his visa declaration, and claiming that he had not traveled in the 14 days before he arrived in Australia.

Djokovic’s lawyers have appealed the decision and his case will be heard before Justice O’Callaghan at the Federal Court of Australia at 9.30am AEDT on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic appeal set for Sunday morning at Federal Court of Australia

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 12:12 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic has been in Australia for almost 10 days and his visa has been cancelled twice.

The first time he was detained at a Melbourne airport as he was viewed as a health risk as he hadn’t had the Covid vaccine. He won an appeal to remain in Australia but immigration minister Alex Hawke had the power to cancel it again.

He exercised his right to do so on Friday but Djokovic and his team are hitting back with the case now heading for the Federal Court of Australia.

But how did he get to this point and why? Here’s all you need to know:

How Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa saga unfolded

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 12:07 , Lawrence Ostlere

Nemanja Starovic, a senior official in the foreign ministry of Serbia, has said Djokovic is being “treated like a criminal” in Australia.

Djokovic has his visa cancelled for a second time with the case now being moved to the Federal Court of Australia.

Starovic told BBC: “We have seen other tennis players who didn’t respect their mandatory isolation but they haven’t received the same treatment as Novak.”

He added Serbia are asking Australia not to hold Djokovic in a detainment centre again despite it being agreed amongst both parties in a hearing earlier today.

He said: “He doesn’t deserve that. He’s not an illegal migrant. Relations between our two countries have always been friendly and public opinion about Australia was always strong here in Serbia.

“Unfortunately he was treated like a criminal, so this could potentially damaged the relations between two countries.”

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 11:24 , Lawrence Ostlere

Meanwhile, Serbian health officials have insisted the Djokovic received the results of his positive PCR test on 15 December by email, despite his claims that he did not get it until a day later.

Djokovic aid in a statement on 12 January that he did not get the results until after he attended a tennis even unmasked, where he met children.

How has the world reacted to Djokovic saga?

Saturday 15 January 2022 11:11 , Lawrence Ostlere

It’s clear plenty have little sympathy for Djokovic and his behaviour, given how he has reacted previously to others in the sport not going with the flow.

World reacts to Australia cancelling Novak Djokovic’s visa

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 11:03 , Lawrence Ostlere

Following the interview he was permitted to meet with his lawyers and is expected to spend Saturday night in pre-immigration detention as his case waits to be heard, according to reports.

The Australian government has agreed to not deport Djokovic until his case is argued, but if he loses his appeal he could be removed from the country.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 10:46 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.

Djokovic visa cancelled over fears of civil unrest

Saturday 15 January 2022 10:35 , Lawrence Ostlere

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”.

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

Saturday 15 January 2022 10:28 , Lawrence Ostlere

Full story:

Andy Murray refuses to ‘kick Novak Djokovic when he’s down’

Djokovic saga – recap

Saturday 15 January 2022 10:12 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.”

Djokovic saga – recap

Saturday 15 January 2022 09:55 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.”

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

Saturday 15 January 2022 09:42 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.

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

Djokovic saga – recap

Saturday 15 January 2022 09:36 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 09:19 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 09:05 , Lawrence Ostlere

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)
Australia Djokovic Immigration (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 08:52 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 08:37 , Lawrence Ostlere

After a hastily convened appearance by both legal teams on Friday evening, following the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”, a brief procedural hearing was held on Saturday morning.

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.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 08:21 , Lawrence Ostlere

A timetable was agreed on Friday, with Djokovic to be detained at 8am on Saturday morning for a meeting with immigration officials before meeting with his lawyers. He was then detained overnight, possibly back at the Park hotel where he spent the first four days of his trip under detention.

The world number one’s legal team revealed their grounds for appeal would centre on the irrationality of the decision, with the threshold for success much higher than in the first hearing.

Djokovic appeal hearing set for tonight (Sunday in Melbourne)

Saturday 15 January 2022 08:10 , Lawrence Ostlere

Djokovic’s appeal against the re-cancellation of his visa has been confirmed for Sunday morning (tonight in the UK) at the Federal Court of Australia.

After a hastily convened appearance by both legal teams on Friday evening, following the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”, a brief procedural hearing was held on Saturday morning.

In it, Justice David O’Callaghan confirmed the case has been transferred from the Federal Circuit Court and that the main hearing will take place at 9.30am on Sunday (10.30pm on Saturday UK time).

Djokovic is due to play his first-round match at the Australian Open against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

Novak Djokovic appeal set for Sunday morning at Federal Court of Australia

Djokovic detained by border officials

Saturday 15 January 2022 08:07 , Lawrence Ostlere

Novak Djokovic has been detained by Australian border officials in line with the arrangement agreed in court as the world’s number one tennis player fights on to remain in the country.

Djokovic has had his visa revoked twice by immigration officials ahead of the Australian Open because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, and saw immigration minister Alex Hawke again deny his application on Friday.

The 34-year-old Serbian is accused of providing false information on his visa declaration, and claiming that he had not traveled in the 14 days before he arrived in Australia.

Djokovic’s lawyers have appealed the decision and his case will be heard before Justice O’Callaghan at the Federal Court of Australia at 9.30am AEDT on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic appeal set for Sunday morning at Federal Court of Australia

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Saturday 15 January 2022 07:58 , Lawrence Ostlere

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.

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