Novak Djokovic: Phillip Schofield slams 'complicated' situation
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Gary Lineker has described the fiasco surrounding Novak Djokovic’s participation in the upcoming Australian Open as ‘utterly bonkers’ as the uncertainty over his place in the draw rages on. The Serb, who has won each of the last three editions of the tournament, still faces the threat of deportation from the country despite seeing his visa cancellation overturned after a court hearing on Monday.
Djokovic was detained upon arriving in Australia on Thursday after more detail was demanded regarding his COVID-19 vaccine exemption to gain entry and compete in the first Grand Slam of the new year.
It was eventually ruled on Monday that his visa cancellation order would be quashed and that he would be released from detention with immediate effect.
However, Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, retains the power to overturn the verdict and is said to be considering his options.
A decision is expected to be made on Tuesday at the earliest but could reportedly be delayed until further into the week, according to The Guardian.
The court hearing was followed by clashes between Djokovic’s supporters and police in Melbourne, with a number of people being pepper sprayed after attempting to block the path of a car they believed was carrying the 34-year-old.
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Lineker reacted to a clip of the incident that was shared on social media by expressing his distaste for the situation, tweeting: “The world has gone utterly bonkers.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Djokovic will eventually take part in this year’s Australian Open as he awaits further clarification on whether his visa will be revoked upon Hawke’s request.
Conflicting reports have caused plenty of confusion since the end of the hearing, with Serbian media claiming that Djokovic was arrested just minutes after the verdict was given with a view to being deported over the coming days.
However, The Age and others have reported that no such arrest took place and that Hawke is still weighing up his decision on whether or not to override the verdict.
Djokovic’s brother, Djordje, spoke out after Monday’s hearing by criticising the Australian government and revealing that discussions have already taken place behind closed doors to evaluate the next steps.
“Novak has shown that he is persistent and that he believes in his ideals, he won this fight for the whole world,” he told reporters in Serbia.
“The judge has made the right ruling based on facts, but we are receiving info that the minister is above the court.
“Novak is in a political whirlwind, the people in Australia are unhappy since they have been locked down basically since the pandemic started.
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“It’s definitely politics. What we can do is to let this be known all over social media – they want to capture and lock up Novak again.
“That’s the last info, we are currently consulting with PRs about our next steps.
“He is at the moment with his lawyers in the room they were during the hearing, thinking about his options.”
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