Sports

Latest news, visa, what happens next? Will he stay, Alex Hawke


Novak Djokovic is free, for now, but his Australian Open hopes hang in the balance with his visa battle potentially not over yet.

The world No.1 says he’s determined to compete in the year’s first major after winning a stunning victory over the Australian government in his visa battle.

Monday night’s ruling overturned the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa on Covid-19 health grounds, and ended the unvaccinated player’s detention in an immigration facility, after the court determined the cancellation of his visa was unreasonable.

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The ruling potentially clears the way for Djokovic to play in the tournament that starts next Monday but the tournament may yet be out of reach.

The government’s lawyer told the court that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke may decide to use his “personal power of cancellation” despite the player’s legal victory.

“The Minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing,” a spokesman for Minister Hawke said on Monday night.

It was initially reported Minister Hawke only had a four-hour window to enact the move, but it’s now expected a call will be made on Tuesday.

There could be bigger ramifications than this year’s tournament if Djokovic’s visa is cancelled again — he may be unable to return to Australia for three years, a standard ban that comes with the denial of travel documents.

Judge Kelly noted in Monday’s hearing after the verdict: “The stakes have now risen, rather than receded.”

The saga has unsurprisingly made huge news across the globe and the government is now likely weighing up the political ramifications of its next move, with many suggesting cancelling Djokovic’s visa again would look “vindictive”.

The Australian’s Jacquelin Magnay tweeted: “Looks vindictive internationally if Australia revokes his visa again, but it will play strongly to Australians, where the unvaccinated have been demonised for months (for not supporting the public good) Aust has 90pc vax rates.”

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Retiring federal MP and tennis great John Alexander said the Australian government should not interfere any more in the Djokovic case.

“The judge has been abundantly clear in his findings and his comments around the finding, saying essentially what more could this man have done to meet the criteria that had been set down,” Mr Alexander told RN Breakfast on Tuesday.

“It was a pretty emphatic decision. The Minister does have the right to overrule that, but it would appear that Djokovic is not a threat to Australian society.

“… This is something that should not become a political problem. It is not political at this point.”

Tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg suggested on Twitter Djokovic would be best served to get to a practice court “immediately”.

“Take pictures of yourself being there and already part of the tournament so that—optically if nothing else—your participation looks like a done deal. Makes it more awkward for government to redetain,” he wrote.

It appeared Djokovic did just that, with his family confirming from Serbia he had already been training late on Monday night.



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