Novak Djokovic won an appeal against a decision to refuse him a visa in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on Monday, seemingly allowing him to compete in the Australian Open from January 17 despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19
Last Updated: 11/01/22 6:35am
Novak Djokovic could be inspired to victory at the Australian Open after winning an appeal against a decision to refuse him a visa to enter the country, according to former British No 1 Andrew Castle.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia on Monday overturned the government’s decision to refuse Djokovic a visa upon his arrival in Melbourne on Wednesday, after which the world No 1 spent four nights in an immigration detention hotel.
Following his release on Monday, Djokovic, a record nine-time winner of the Australian Open, announced his intention to defend his title at the first Grand Slam of the year, which gets under way on Monday, January 17. The draw is set to take place on Thursday.
Australian Open 2022 key dates
- The 2022 tournament due to start on Monday, January 17.
- The draw is set to take place on Thursday, January 13.
Asked about Djokovic’s prospects of winning the tournament, Castle told Sky Sports News: “I wouldn’t be surprised.
“He’s such a stubborn and hard-working guy on court, if he gets this exemption and if the Australian government don’t supersede the court, I would say that he’s going to tee it up and play.
“If he can get through two, three, four rounds, and play his way into the tournament – we know how good he is – I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him into the second week of this grand slam once again, because he is so stubborn and so good.
“When it’s time, and the bell rings, he’ll be ready to compete. Sometimes Novak can be even better when everyone is against him than when everyone is for him.”
Following the verdict on Monday, Djokovic tweeted to say he would “remain focused” on competing in front of Australia’s “amazing fans”, but Castle has warned that the 34-year-old can expect a hostile atmosphere from spectators when the tournament begins.
I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened,I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen
I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans. 👇 pic.twitter.com/iJVbMfQ037
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 10, 2022
“When it comes to the crowd reaction, I suspect they’ll boo him roundly when he comes out on court and I think the whole thing will turn into a massive pantomime,” Castle said.
“But let’s make no mistake, Covid is not to be fooled with, Omicron is not to be fooled with, but the Australians, many of them are absolutely terrified. They’re undergoing a huge wave over there and this is a man who, waving his medical exemption around, said ‘I’m on my way down’.
“It was unsubtle, it was tone deaf and it was a PR disaster for him, kind of igniting this whole debate and, who knows, might have influenced the action of the government as well.
“He can stand on his own two feet. But he can expect a tough reaction.”
Novak Djokovic – Sequence of events
|January 4 – Djokovic announces he will be travelling to Australia with an ‘exemption permission’.|
|January 5 – While Djokovic is airborne, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the athlete will be on the “next plane home” if he cannot provide “acceptable proof” that his exemption is legitimate.|
|Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford highlights that the local government of Victoria, where the Australian Open is held, will not support Djokovic’s visa application.|
|The world No 1 arrives at Melbourne Airport around 11.30pm local time.|
|January 6 – Around 3.15am, Djokovic’s father reports that his son is being held in isolation in Melbourne Airport.|
|At 5am, Goran Ivanisevic releases an image on social media of himself and another member of Djokovic’s team seemingly waiting for the world No 1. The post is captioned, ‘Not the most usual trip Down Under’.|
|Around 8.15am local time, Djokovic’s visa is confirmed to have been denied by the Australian Border Force.|
|Djokovic is moved to quarantine hotel while his legal team appeal visa cancellation.|
|The appeal against his visa cancellation is adjourned until Monday (Jan 10) morning Australian time.|
|January 7 – Australia Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says Djokovic is “free to leave any time” and is not being detained.|
|Djokovic breaks silence in Instagram post on Friday, thanking his fans for their “continuous support”.|
|January 8 – Submission from Djokovic’s lawyers on Saturday reveals positive Covid-19 test in December.|
|January 9 – Home Affairs Minister Andrews has a submission to delay the hearing until Wednesday (Jan 12) rejected by Judge Anthony Kelly.|
|Submission from Australian government lawyers says Djokovic had not been given an assurance he would be allowed to enter the country with his medical exemption.|
|January 10 – Djokovic wins appeal. Judge Anthony Kelly quashes visa cancellation, and orders the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention.|
|Djokovic takes to social media to confirm that he remains intent on competing at the Australian Open.|
Questions remain over December 16 whereabouts
There is still confusion surrounding Djokovic’s movements around December 16, the date he tested positive for Covid.
Djokovic attended an event on December 16 at the Belgrade headquarters of the Serbian national post office, which was honouring him and his career with the release of a series of stamps.
Djokovic posted pictures from the event – in which he is seen maskless – on his Twitter account on December 17.
It is unclear if Djokovic knew he had Covid when he attended the event.
An honor to receive my very own Serbian stamp. Thank you to my generous country for this rare gift! I’m humbled!! Excited to share we’ll partner with the Serbian National Postal Service on @novakfoundation projects for every child to have the opportunity to attend preschool 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/Ww8Zma95NU
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) December 17, 2021
When asked about his whereabouts around December 16, his brother Djordje Djokovic said in Monday’s press conference: “The process was public and all the documents are public and legal.”
When asked again by another reporter, he said: “OK, so this press conference is adjourned at the moment, thank you for your attention,” before abruptly ending the conference, which prompted applause.
Source : Sky Sports