Novak Djokovic wins appeal against deportation from Australia
Novak Djokovic is free to enter Australia after winning his fight with the nation’s government over his visa – for now, at least. 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 as the 34-year-old looks to prepare to compete for the Australian Open.
The world number one took part in a training session at the Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday 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 the session but reports on the ground indicated an “uncomfortable” situation for the Serbian.
Both of his parents have been outspoken during the course of the appeal, with his father claiming victory for human rights and free speech in “a young man from a small, poor country” defeating “big, powerful people” in the courts. Djokovic’s mother, meanwhile, compared his treatment to being “subjected to torture, to harassment”.
However, none of his family opted to answer questions surrounding the tennis star’s positive Covid result from December, ending a press conference when the matter arose on Monday. Court documents show Djokovic testing positive on 16 December, but the following day he was apparently photographed in public settings without a mask and with children in attendance. Follow all the latest news and reaction from Djokovic’s hearing below.
“Hawke should cancel Djokovic’s visa”
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.”
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 13:55
How does politics play its part?
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:
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 13:40
Djokovic could win the crowd round, says Becker
Boris Becker has warned Djokovic he will face a frosty crowd at the Australian Open if he competes but that he can win them round.
The star could still be deported but at the moment he is on track to attempt to defend his title and win his 21st Grand Slam.
Becker 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.”
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 13:25
Novak Djokovic father Srdjan Djokovic calls on Queen Elizabeth to intervene
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,” Srđan Đoković 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.”
Jack Rathborn11 January 2022 13:10
Timeline of events
There has been so much happening over the past few days in Djokovic’s case it’s hard to keep up.
We’ve put together a helpful timeline of events so you can stay up to date with what is happening and when.
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 13:00
ATP: Djokovic situation “damaging on all fronts”
The men’s tennis tour, the ATP, has said how Djokovic’s visa situation has played out is “damaging on all fronts”.
Djokovic could be deported from Australia in coming days if immigration minister Alex Hawke decides to re-cancel his visa. For now the world no. 1 continues his preparations for the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January.
The ATP said in a statement: “Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have… highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules.
“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.”
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 12:45
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 recovering from Covid, which jeopardises his participation at the Australian Open, having withdrawn from the Sydney Tennis Classic in the wake of a positive test.
“We know that the media like to create shit-storms, with my story and everything going on with Novak,” Kyrgios said. “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.”
While Kyrgios feels optimistic about his participation next week at Melbourne Park.
“I actually don’t feel too bad at the moment and I’m taking all necessary precautions,” he said. “Obviously not ideal a week out of the Aus Open, but I’m going to do everything in my power to feel OK and get out there and hopefully give you all a show.
“I just don’t want this to take away from the Australian summer of tennis. We’ve had a lot of great results, a lot of other Aussies are doing really well.”
Jack Rathborn11 January 2022 12:30
What has Djokovic said?
World no. 1 Djokovic hasn’t said a lot publicly in the last few days but he did break his silence after winning his appeal on Monday.
He was initially said to be joining his family via web link in their press conference but that didn’t happen. Instead he took to social media to thank fans and say he is grateful he has been allowed to remain in the country.
However, the player could be deported before the Australian Open with a decision thought to be coming on Wednesday.
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 12:15
Question over event Djokovic attended
Djokovic says he tested positive on 16 December and has documental proof to back up his claim. However, once this became public knowledge many pointed out he attended an event on 17 December and didn’t where a mask.
He was also pictured with young fans at the event and many want to know if he was aware he was positive at the time. When his family was asked about it on Monday at their press conference they refused to answer the question.
Djokovic is yet to answer questions on the event.
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 12:00
Djokovic to face more questions
As part of his entry to Australia, Djokovic said he had not travelled anywhere prior to heading to the country.
However, footage appears to show Djokovic practicing at a training camp in the south of Spain on December 31, which would throw into question Djokovic’s claim that he did not travel prior to flying to Australia on 4 January.
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 which 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.”
Sarah Rendell11 January 2022 11:50