Sports TIMELINE: Novak Djokovic's bid to compete at Australian Open
Novak Djokovic denied entry to Australia, has visa canceled
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic’s chance to play for a 10th Australian Open title was thrown into limbo Thursday when the country denied him entry and canceled his visa because he failed to meet the requirements for an exemption to COVID-19 vaccination rules. The top-ranked Djokovic announced on social media Tuesday that he had “exemption permission” and he landed in Australia late Wednesday with a medical exemption from the Victoria state government that was expected to shield him from the strict vaccination regulations in place for this year’s first major tennis tournament.
The Australian government on Friday revoked tennis star Novak Djokovic's visa for a second time, just three days before the Australian Open begins.
Djokovic’s lawyers are expected to appeal the cancellation in the Federal Circuit and Family Court, as they successfully did the first time.
Melbourne-based immigration lawyer Kian Bone said that Djokovic’s lawyers face an “extremely difficult” task to get court orders over the weekend to allow their client to play next week.
His exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement to compete was approved by the Victoria state government and Tennis Australia, which apparently allowed him to receive a visa to travel.
EXPLAINER: Why was Novak Djokovic not let into Australia?
Novak Djokovic came within one victory of sweeping all four of last year's Grand Slam tennis tournaments and entered 2022 needing one title to set the men's record of 21 major championships. He might not get the chance to pursue that mark at the Australian Open when play begins in Melbourne on Jan. 17. That's because, even though Djokovic, a 34-year-old from Serbia, was granted a medical exemption to get around a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all players and their support teams at the hard-court tournament, his visa for entry into Australia was revoked in the early hours of Thursday, local time, after he was detained at the airport for about eight hours.
Here is a look at the timeline of events involving Djokovic's trip to Australia:
April 2020: As the coronavirus pandemic rages, Djokovic issues a statement, saying, “Personally I am opposed to the vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be able to travel. But if it becomes compulsory, I will have to make a decision whether to do it, or not.”
June 2020: With the professional tennis tours on hiatus because of the pandemic, Djokovic organizes a series of exhibition matches in Serbia and Croatia with no rules requiring social distancing or masking. The Adria Tour is called off after some players get COVID-19; Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, test positive.
Nov. 19, 2021: Confirming an edict made by the Victorian state government in late October, tournament director Craig Tiley says everyone at the 2022 Australian Open must be vaccinated for COVID-19. Djokovic's vaccine status is unknown at the time.
Djokovic’s Serb fans on edge as Australia visa hearing looms
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Novak Djokovic’s parents joined a protest rally in downtown Belgrade on Sunday with their tennis-great son still in an Australian immigration detention hotel as fans of Djokovic in Serbia nervously awaited a crucial court hearing which could decide whether he can play at the Australian Open. The virtual hearing in Melbourne, with Djokovic appealing his visa cancellation, comes amid a growing public debate over his positive coronavirus test that his lawyers used as grounds in applying for a medical exemption to Australia’s strict vaccination rules.
Dec. 8, 2021: Victoria state Deputy Premier James Merlino says medical exemptions for the vaccine policy would not be “a loophole for privileged tennis players” and would only be possible in “exceptional circumstances, if you have an acute medical condition.”
Dec. 14, 2021: Djokovic attends a professional basketball game in Belgrade and is photographed hugging several players from both teams, including some who later tested positive.
Dec. 16, 2021: Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19 in Serbia, although that is not public knowledge until revealed by court documents in January. He later says he did not know the result until Dec. 17.
Video: Australian judge frees Djokovic, but saga not over (The Canadian Press)
Dec. 17, 2021: Djokovic attends an event in Belgrade honoring youth tennis players. Parents post photos on social media showing Djokovic and the young players without masks. Djokovic later says he was asymptomatic, took an antigen test before the event that showed he was negative, and only received the positive PCR result after the event.
EXPLAINER: How will Australian visa ruling impact Djokovic?
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — As Novak Djokovic awaits a final decision on whether his visa will be revoked, all eyes have turned to Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. He has to decide whether he will overturn the decision of a federal judge, who ruled Djokovic’s visa should be reinstated because he was unfairly treated by officials at the border. Hawke has discretion to revoke Djokovic’s visa but has taken longer than expected to reach a decision which has legal, political, sporting and diplomatic consequences. © Provided by The Canadian Press ____ WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Whatever Hawke decides, it’s unlikely to be the last word.
Dec. 18, 2021: Knowing he tested positive, Djokovic does an interview and photo shoot with the French newspaper L'Equipe. He acknowledges weeks later: “On reflection, this was an error of judgement.”
Dec. 22, 2021: According to court documents, Djokovic tests negative for COVID-19 in Serbia.
Dec. 29, 2021: Djokovic withdraws from Serbia's team for the ATP Cup, days before the competition is due to begin in Sydney. No reason is given.
Jan. 1, 2022: Tiley is asked in a TV interview about Djokovic's status for the Australian Open and responds: “There’s quite a bit to play out and I think it will play out in the coming days.”
Jan. 4, 2022:a photo of himself at an airport with a caption that reads, in part: “I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission.” Tennis Australia follows with a statement confirming Djokovic is on his way to the country with a medical exemption “granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.” Neither Djokovic nor Tennis Australia reveals the basis for his exemption. Tiley says a “handful” of exemptions had been granted out of 26 applications from players or others. A public outcry bubbles up on social media among Australians while Djokovic's flight to Melbourne is in the air.
Double-fault: Visa revoked again, Djokovic faces deportation
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic faces deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for a second time, the latest twist in the ongoing saga over whether the No. 1-ranked tennis player will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated for COVID-19. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said Friday he used his ministerial discretion to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds — just three days before play begins at the Australian Open, where Djokovic has won a record nine of his 20 Grand Slam titles.
Jan. 5, 2022: Djokovic arrives at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.
Jan. 6, 2022: After being detained for about eight hours upon arrival, Djokovic is denied entry to the country and his visa is canceled. He is sent to an immigration hotel, where he remains for four nights. The Australian Border Force says Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweets: “Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.”
Jan. 10, 2022:to overturn the visa cancellation, Djokovic submits an affidavit that says he is not vaccinated for COVID-19. , ruling the player was not given enough time to speak to his lawyers before the decision to deny him entry was made at the airport. Kelly orders the government to release Djokovic from immigration detention. Hours later, Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park.
Jan. 11, 2022: With his status still uncertain, Djokovic is installed as the No. 1 seed for the men's field at the Australian Open. The tournament strictly follows the current rankings in determining seedings and Djokovic is ranked No. 1; he has spent more weeks atop the ATP than any other man in the history of the men's professional tour's computerized rankings.
Open from Australia: Novak Djokovic has been retention again before a decisive hearing on Saturday in the world
the world number 1 may not be able to play the first Grand Slam tournament of the year and to be expelled Australia. © provided by FranceInfo a soap opera no further . The world number 1, Novak Djokovic, was returned to administrative detention on Saturday, January 15, after the cancellation of his visa for the second time by the Australian Government, the day before, and pending a court decision on His case, according to judicial documents.
Jan. 12, 2022: Djokovic'son the matter come via a post on social media that is put up by someone while he is practicing at the Australian Open's main stadium. He acknowledges a mistake on his travel declaration for Australia, which failed to indicate that he had been in multiple countries over the prior two weeks. Djokovic blames his agent for checking the wrong box on the form, calling it “a human error and certainly not deliberate.” He also clarifies the timing of his positive COVID-19 test from December and subsequent whereabouts.
Jan. 13, 2022: Djokovic is included in the Australian Open draw. He is slated to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round next week.
Jan. 14, 2022:says he used his ministerial discretion to revoke Djokovic's visa on “health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”
Jan. 17, 2022: Play is scheduled to begin at Melbourne Park. The men's singles final is Jan. 30.
More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press
TIMELINE: Djokovic's failed bid to play in Australian Open .
Novak Djokovic’s attempt to play in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19 came to an end when a court upheld a government minister's rejection of his visa. The unanimous ruling from three Federal Court judges in Melbourne on Sunday came the day before Djokovic was scheduled to begin his title defense at a Grand Slam tournament he’s won a record nine times. The Australian government twice canceled a visa held by the 34-year-old from Serbia and Djokovic’s lawyers appealed twice.