Novak Djokovic news: Serb ‘will be kicked out’ of Australia as PM teases bad news

Djokovic admits attending interview while Covid positive

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Will he? Won’t he? Novak Djokovic is still waiting to learn from Australia whether or not he will be allowed to remain in the country to play the upcoming Australian Open. He is currently being investigated by the Australian Border Force with multiple questions raised, and Alex Hawke the Minister for Immigration has the power to once again revoke Djokovic’s visa before the Grand Slam begins next Monday (January 17).

Djokovic won an appeal in court against being deported on Monday, having been awarded a medical exemption to travel by Tennis Australia’s chief medical officer, but could still be thrown out of the country because of the power Hawke holds.

The world No 1 could be chucked out if the Australian minister decides that having Covid is not sufficient grounds for a medical exemption from vaccination.

Djokovic meanwhile admitted himself he made a false declaration on his entry forms, which incorrectly stated that he had not been to Spain in the two weeks before flying to Australia.

The Serb apologised for an “administrative mistake” which sees him being probed by the authorities, who are also looking into the fact Djokovic broke isolation rules at home in Serbia in December.

The investigation also plans to look into when Djokovic took and received the results of his test after making contrasting claims.

IN CASE YOU MISSED ANYTHING: Novak Djokovic news: Serb may face five-year prison sentence

In a sworn court affidavit relied upon by the Federal Circuit Court, Djokovic said he received the results on December 16 while in his statement he claimed he learned he was positive the following day on December 17.

Hawke has still yet to make a decision on the matter despite the draw for the Australian Open being conducted overnight last night (UK time).

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “I will refer to Mr Hawke’s most recent statement (Wednesday) – that position hasn’t changed. These are personal ministerial powers able to be exercised by Minister Hawke and I don’t propose to make any further comment at this time.

“That individual must prove they are vaccinated or provide a medical reason, that is the policy and the policy hasn’t changed.”

Express Sport provides all the latest Novak Djokovic updates below.

KEY EVENTS

  • Djokovic court hearing09:34
  • NEW BLOG08:57
  • Spain deny Djokovic investigation12:44
  • Djokovic’s lawyers draw up plans10:15
  • Djokovic could face prison in Serbia08:58
  • What happens if Djokovic is booted out08:15
  • Djokovic learns draw07:59
  • Djokovic ‘will be kicked out’07:00
  • Djokovic court hearing

    Novak Djokovic’s case will be heard in court in 10 minutes.

    To follow it live, CLICK HERE

    NEW BLOG

    Morning, folks. 

    Express Sport has a new Novak Djokovic blog set up for today.

    To follow all the latest news in the Djokovic saga, please CLICK HERE

    Jabeur not comfortable

    Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur doesn’t feel comfortable judging Novak Djokovic for his off-court decisions.

    She said: “I feel like some players they blame him for coming, some players they don’t.

    “I feel like we should respect his choice that he didn’t want to get vaccinated. If they didn’t want him to come, why did you give the exemption and everything?

    “So, I feel like it’s tough what’s happening to him or to anybody; it’s a very, very tough situation.”

    Djokovic’s former coach speaks out

    Novak Djokovic’s former coach Ladislav Kis doesn’t agree with Stefanos Tsitsipas’ assessment on what has happened this past week.

    Tsitsipas said on Thursday that he believes Djokovic has made other players “look like fools” after travelling to Australia unvaccinated.

    Kis though doesn’t agree with that view,

    “I would personally disagree,” he told WAToday.

    “We’re right in the middle of this pandemic and everyone has their views.”

    Becker unhappy

    Boris Becker has called out Novak Djokovic’s dad, insisting the 61-year-old will regret some of his actions this past week.

    Srdjan Djokovic has been outspoken in Serbian media ever since his son touched down in Australia, even holding two press conferences.

    His comments have caused a stir around the world and Becker, who coached Djokovic previously, doesn’t think Srdjan has helped his son.

    “The father certainly overreached the goal,” Becker said.

    “He will certainly regret some of the statements he made four or five days ago. The fact that statements were made by his family didn’t exactly help him.”

    Andrey Rublev on Djokovic

    Andrey Rublev has weighed in on Novak Djokovic’s visa controversy.

    The Russian tennis ace took aim at the world No 1 for his “personal agreement” on trying to enter Australia.

    “Personal agreements do not give an athlete the right to cross the border, the law of the country is the law,” Rublev said to TASS.

    “Because the law of the country is the law – local residents and those who come live according to it. None of us would want to get into such a situation; I can only shrug and regret, that instead of tennis now everyone is discussing such things.”

    Djokovic ‘very aware’

    Novak Djokovic is reportedly “very aware” of the strong possibility he could be kicked out of Australia.

    Immigration Minister Alex Hawke holds the power to revoke Djokovic’s visa despite the world No 1 winning a court case on Monday.

    Djokovic has been training at the Rod Laver Arena in preparation for the Australian Open next week and has been included in the main draw.

    But Todd Woodbridge caught up with Djokovic on Thursday and explains what he took away from his conversation.

    FULL STORY HERE

    Djokovic told to go home

    Martina Navratilova has challenged Novak Djokovic to take the personal decision to leave Australia before it is made for him.

    Djokovic has caused headlines all around the world this past week after touching down in Melbourne.

    Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still holds the power to deport Djokovic with a decision expected to be made on Friday.

    But Navratilova wants to see the world No 1 leave on his own free will.

    FULL STORY HERE

    Djokovic backlash welcomed

    The Australian government are reportedly preparing their case to have Novak Djokovic deported.

    Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has the capability to revoke Djokovic’s visa after he won an appeal earlier this week.

    A decision is expected to come on Friday with some suggestions it is increasingly likely that Djokovic will leave the country.

    FULL STORY HERE

    Australian Open predictions

    A reminder that you can have your say on how this year’s Australian Open will pan out.

    Pick your men’s winner, women’s winner and predict how far you think Briton’s Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray will progress in Melbourne.

    You can do so here.

    Inside the Djokovic fiasco

    Express Sport reporter Neil McLeman is out in Melbourne to cover the Australian Open.

    And he’s written about the atmosphere around the Rod Laver Arena during Novak Djokovic’s most recent practice session.

    Neil writes: “Few sports stars have attracted this much attention or notoriety since OJ Simpson was chased down a California freeway by the LAPD – and a fleet of media helicopters – in his white Bronco.

    “He is certainly public enemy No.1 in the Australian media. Two Channel Seven TV presenters were captured calling the Serb a ‘lying a***hole’ in leaked footage of a hilarious off-air chat. And that is polite by Aussie standards.”

    What will Hawke decide?

    It’s now closing in on 1am in Australia, so we’re around seven or eight hours away from the earliest time we might find out a decision from Alex Hawke.

    Remember, the Australian Immigration Minister can revoke Djokovic’s visa a second time even though the court ruled in favour of the Serb this week.

    But as we mentioned earlier, Djokovic’s team are already drawing up contingency plans in case Hawke sides against them.

    We might still be quite a few more days from sorting this out…

    Djokovic has Sandgren’s support

    Djokovic is not the only tennis pro unvaxxed, with Tennys Sandgren another. And the American has lent the Serbian his support while being interviewed on the Canadian online video platform Rumble.

    Sandgren said: “If Djokovic is deported after the judge reinstated his visa, it is clear that it is political.

    “I don’t think Australia should host a Grand Slam tournament at the moment.

    “What is the current risk Novak Djokovic poses for public health? Why should we be scared of Novak? Let him play.”

    Sandgren said last week to Sky News that he has no intention of getting the jab despite Djokovic’s career.

    He declared: “I am resolute and sticking with what I believe in, even if it hurts my career.

    “Maybe this thing calms down in a year – that’s kind of what I am hoping, my plan is to play in the States until the US Open. One Slam is better than none.”

    Navratilova tears into Djokovic

    Martina Navratilova, the 18-time singles Grand Slam winner, has told Novak Djokovic he should fly back home to Serbia voluntarily.

    She told Sunrise: “The best thing for Novak to do I think would be just say ‘you know what, there are too many mistakes, this is not OK and the right thing to do is just to go home.

    “It’s just the right thing to do, but I don’t think he will do that because he wants that 21st title.

    “Your personal beliefs have to be trumped by what is good for the greater good for those around you and your peers.

    “If I were in the same situation and I didn’t want the vaccine, worried what it may do to my body, everyone else is doing it because it is the right thing to do and the country demands it.

    “He had a choice not to get vaccinated and he had a choice not to play and he had a choice once he tested positive not to go out.”

    Spain deny Djokovic investigation

    Spain’s interior ministry have denied suggestions they are launching a probe into Novak Djokovic’s time in the country last month.

    There had been claims Spain would look at whether Djokovic flouted coronavirus regulations having flown in unvaccinated.

    “The news is false. Neither the government has ordered it nor is there any police investigation open on the athlete,” a spokesperson however told POLITICO.

    Djokovic had been in Marbella for training, though Spanish regulations state that only “residents in Serbia who have a complete vaccination certificate or special authorisation can enter Spain”.

    Djokovic sparks political tussle

    Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese has been critical of the country’s federal government for ever allowing Djokovic to travel Down Under.

    He says it should never have got to the stage where the Serb arrived in Australia only to encounter problems.

    “Australia has a policy of not allowing unvaccinated people into Australia,” Albanese told 9Now’s The Today Show.

    “It is beyond my comprehension how we have got to this point.

    “It should have been resolved at the point in which a visa was applied for.”

    Australian deputy PM criticises Djokovic

    Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says Djokovic cannot have different rules to the country’s citizens.

    It is yet another hint, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s words, that Djokovic will be deported.

    “Obviously most of us thought because Mr Djokovic hadn’t been vaxxed twice, he’d be asked to leave,” Joyce told 9Now’s The Today Show.

    “The vast majority of Australians didn’t like the idea that another individual, whether they’re a tennis player or the King of Spain or the Queen of England, can come up here and have a different set of rules to what everybody else has to deal with.

    “Whether they agree with the rules or not, they believe they should abide by the rules, and that was the issue with Novak Djokovic.”

    Tsitsipas asked if Djokovic should play Aus Open

    Tsitsipas was coy when asked if Djokovic should be allowed to defend his title in Melbourne.

    The Greek added: “There’s two ways to look at it. One way is every single player, almost, the stats say 98 per cent of the players, have been vaccinated.

    “They did what they had to do to perform and play in Australia. So one side of it is, yeah we’ve all followed the protocols in order to compete in Australia, who have been very disciplined in that part.

    “In the other sense I’d say, it kind of seems like not everyone is playing by the rules of how Tennis Australia or some governments have been putting things.

    “And a very small minority of that percentage chose to follow their own way which kind of makes the rest, the majority, look like they’re all fools or something.”

    Tsitsipas has his say

    World No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas has waded in on the Djokovic situation, insisting the Serb is “daring” for risking missing a Grand Slam.

    He told WIO News: “For sure he’s been playing by his own rules and has been doing something that not many players have the guts to go and do, especially after the ATP announced certain criteria for players to enter the country.

    “No one would have really thought, ‘I can come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols they gave me.’

    “It takes a lot of daring to do I think, putting a Grand Slam at risk, I don’t think a lot of players would do that.

    “I chose to go and be 100 per cent ready for whatever was to come. Not having to think about anything else. For Novak it worked another way.

    “That doesn’t really mean that my way is the right one and his way is the wrong one. It’s just each person’s decision about it.”

    Djokovic’s lawyers draw up plans

    Novak Djokovic’s team are already drawing up plans to appeal if his visa is cancelled once again.

    The never-ending saga thus far is this: Djokovic was given a medical exemption, held in detention after trying to enter the country before a judge ordered his release.

    But Australia can still re-cancel his visa, and if they do, Djokovic will immediately appeal the decision.

    The world No 1’s lawyers hope a hearing could be fast-tracked by minimising the length of written submissions and verbal evidence, say The Age.

    In fact, the legal team hope the matter could be all sorted by Sunday so that he could play his opening next week should the courts again side in his favour.

    Djokovic decision expected Friday

    That same report from The Age suggests a decision from Alex Hawke is ‘likely’ on Friday.

    It will be 8pm tonight (Thursday) in the UK when it turns 7am on Friday in Australia.

    That means a decision may well come, if it does arrive tomorrow, while UK-based tennis fans are all still sleeping.

    However, if the decision is made later on Friday in Australia, that would of course give Djokovic’s team less time to appeal the decision ahead of the tournament beginning on Monday.

    Keep your eyes peeled.

    Djokovic’s route to glory

    It’s obviously unclear whether or not Djokovic will be able to play the first Grand Slam of the year.

    But if he is allowed to take part, this is how we can make it through to the final – and there’s some thrilling potential match-ups along the way.

    Remember Djokovic is the defending champion at the Australian Open and has won in Melbourne in each of the last three years.

    He’s seeking to become only the second male singles player ever after Rafael Nadal to win one Grand Slam 10 times.

    The ‘King of Clay’ Nadal has of course won the French Open 13 times.

    Australian Open crowds capped

    The Australian Open will cap crowds at 50 per cent capacity due to a rise in Omicron cases in the state of Victoria.

    Sessions that have not already sold over 50 per cent of tickets will be capped at half capacity. 

    A statement read: “Face masks will be mandatory for all patrons, except when eating or drinking, and the event will align with Victoria’s statewide Covid-safe settings.

    “This includes a density limit of one person per two square metres for all indoor hospitality.

    “Ventilation will be improved in indoor areas of Melbourne Park, with HEPA filters to be installed in some spaces after a ventilation assessment is completed for the venue.

    “As COVID-19 hospitalisations and cases continue to rise in Victoria, these mitigation strategies are proportionate and designed to assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19.”

    Australia on Thursday recorded more than 80,000 new Covid cases, with over 37,000 in Victoria.

    New tennis poll

    We’ve got another new poll in which you can have your say.

    How will the men’s and women’s Australian Open draws pan out this year?

    Let us know your thoughts!

    Djokovic could face prison in Serbia

    Novak Djokovic may face a fine or even a prison sentence in his homeland Serbia for breaking isolation rules.

    The world No 1 himself admitted that he breached his isolation when he knowingly had COVID-19.

    The BBC report that lawyers have made it clear that breaking the country’s strict isolation rules is a serious offence.

    Under article 248 of the criminal code, those guilty are subject to a fine or prison sentence of up to three years.

    It is said however that community service is more likely in Djokovic’s case, if he’s convicted.

    Djokovic practice session ‘surreal’

    Express Sport’s Neil McLeman was allowed into the Rod Laver Arena to watch Djokovic train for 15 minutes last night.

    Neil reports a ‘very surreal’ atmosphere with a news helicopter hovering overhead throughout the session.

    Djokovic had previously locked off the arena to practice ahead of the Australian Open.

    A large pack of journalists watched on from the sides this time however as Djokovic trained with his coach Goran Ivanisevic and the No 64 Federico Coria.

    The potential quarter-final match-ups

    With that being the first round, here’s how the last eight could look.

    We could get Djokovic vs Nadal in the semi-finals.

    The Serb could meet Daniil Medvedev, the man who beat him in the US Open final to prevent a Calendar Grand Slam, in the final.

    What happens if Djokovic is booted out

    Should Djokovic indeed be stopped from playing in the Australian Open and deported from the country, the seeds will be reshuffled.

    It is thought that fifth seed Andrey Rublev will likely replace him in that scenario.

    Djokovic was included as the top seed in the draw despite his uncertain visa status.

    Draw in full

    You can see the full Australian Open men’s draw for yourself here.

    Highlights include…

    Nadal v Giron

    Medvedev v Laaksonen

    Murray v Basilashvili

    Berrettini v Nakashima

    Norrie v Korda

    Opelka v Anderson

    Musetti v De Minaur

    Djokovic learns draw

    As Djokovic waits to learn if he will be able to play or not, the Australian Open draw was made overnight.

    The 34-year-old will play in an all-Serbian first-round tie if he’s permitted to take part.

    Aussie PM drops major hint

    Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hinted Novak Djokovic will be booted out of Australia.

    Morrison said in a press conference he expects authorities “to implement the policy of the government”.

    He explained: “All I will simply say is the reason we have had since 15 December, where fully vaccinated eligible visa holders could travel to Australia without needing to apply for a travel exemption … that individual has to show they are double vaccinated or must provide acceptable proof that they can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons.“

    “That’s the policy, that policy hasn’t changed. Of course we would expect authorities to be implementing the policy of the government when it comes to those matters.”

    Asked if visitors to Australia who are not double vaccinated are a threat to public health, Morrison only said that “other matters” are “being considered” in Djokovic’s case.

    Hawke still deciding on Djokovic

    A federal source confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that a decision will not be made on Thursday.

    Immigration Minister Hawke is still considering whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa a second time via his discretionary powers.

    A statement issued on Tuesday said: “As noted yesterday in the Federal Circuit and Family Court, Minister Hawke is considering whether to cancel Mr Djokovic’s visa.

    “In line with due process, Minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter.”

    Djokovic ‘will be kicked out’

    Australia’s The Saturday Paper journalist Paul Bongiorno claims Novak Djokovic will be kicked out of the country.

    He tweeted: “I am hearing @AlexHawkeMP will boot out the Joker tomorrow.”

    No decision was forthcoming however, with it now expected that one will be made on Friday (in Australia).

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