Australian border officials are now investigating whether Novak Djokovic lied on his entry form for Australia as it emerged the tennis star’s visa saga would not be finalized on Tuesday.
With his Australian Open dream at stake as the government considered canceling his visa again, Djokovic was spotted training on a pitch on Tuesday in search of a 21st record. Grand Slam.
Dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, he settled down in a gym on Tuesday accompanied by coach Goran Ivanisevic before heading to the players’ area and heading to Melbourne’s center court Park, found two AFP journalists. TV cameras filmed him from helicopters as he played.
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Before hitting the court, Djokovic spent time in a gymnasium which also had tennis players.
A source in the Australian Open players area told senior writer Ben Rothenberg: “[Djokovic] came to the gym before his shot. The place became silent with everyone watching. Talk about uncomfortable.
While Djokovic has some support from the players, there is an “awkward vibe” in Melbourne Park, according to Rothenberg.
The world number 1 won his appeal hearing on Monday, the decision to cancel his visa being overturned. Subsequently, he was released from detention and began training for the Australian Open as the federal government assessed the option of holding him back and expelling him.
But as Djokovic trained, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke – who has the power to cancel Djokovic’s visa under his personal cancellation power – said he was unlikely to take a decision on Tuesday, stressing that he was still thinking “thoroughly” about the advisability of canceling Djokovic’s visa. .
“As reported yesterday at the Federal Circuit and Family Court, Minister Hawke is considering revoking Mr Djokovic’s visa under section 133c (3) of the Migration Act,” a spokesperson for Mr. Hawke.
“In accordance with due process, Minister Hawke will give this matter careful consideration.
“As the issue is ongoing, for legal reasons it is inappropriate to comment further.
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It comes after another twist in the Djokovic saga, as it appears he made a false statement on his form by claiming he had not traveled in the 14 days prior to arriving in Melbourne.
All travelers arriving in Australia are asked if they “have traveled or will travel within 14 days of your flight to Australia” with the warning: “Giving false or misleading information is a serious offense. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for providing false or misleading information.
Djokovic left Spain for Australia with a stopover in Dubai, which means that legally Djokovic should have been in Spain from around 11:30 p.m. on December 22 (AEDT), i.e. 1:30 p.m. on December 22, Spanish time to arrive. conform to the rules of non-being. authorized to travel within two weeks of arriving in Australia.
However, social media posts show Djokovic pictured in Serbia on December 25, playing tennis in the streets with handball player Petar Djordjic.
This is the second time Djokovic has pulled away from social media after saying he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16 before being photographed without a mass in Belgrade attending events and mingling with children.
The ongoing drama surrounding the unvaccinated 34-year-old has been criticized by Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, who accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday of waiting for problems to turn into a crisis.
“The point is, this was completely botched by the Australian government,” Mr Albanese said.
“It was botched because the Australian government is run by someone who always waits until a problem turns into a crisis before taking action.”
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce admitted to misinterpreting the situation.
Mr Joyce said he thought it would have been “game, set, match” for Djokovic to be sent off.
“I was wrong, I thought he would have left, fixed, match he had not been doubly vaxxed and that he would have been asked to go,” he told reporters.
“But I was wrong. So I’m not going to pretend to be a lawyer anymore.
DJOKOVIC MAY STILL BE RETURNED
Novak Djokovic is free, for now, but his Australian Open hopes are on the line with his visa battle potentially not over yet.
The world number one says he is determined to make it to the first major tournament of the year after winning a resounding victory over the Australian government in its battle for visas.
Monday night’s decision overturned the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa on Covid-19 health grounds and ended the unvaccinated player’s detention at an immigration center, after the court determined that the cancellation of his visa was unreasonable.
The move potentially paves the way for Djokovic to participate in the tournament which begins next Monday, but the tournament could still be out of reach.
The government lawyer told the court that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could decide to use his “personal power to override” despite the player’s legal victory.
“The minister is currently reviewing the matter and the process is continuing,” a spokesperson for Minister Hawke said Monday evening.
It was initially reported that Minister Hawke only had a four-hour window to implement the move, but a call is now expected to be made on Tuesday.
There could be bigger ramifications than this year’s tournament if Djokovic’s visa is canceled again – he might not be able to return to Australia for three years, a standard ban that comes with denial of documents. of travel.
Justice Kelly noted during Monday’s hearing after the verdict: “The stakes have now risen, rather than fallen.”
Unsurprisingly, the saga has made huge news around the world and the government is now probably evaluating the political ramifications of its next move, with many suggesting that canceling Djokovic’s visa again would appear “vindictive.”
Australian Jacquelin Magnay tweeted: “It looks vindictive internationally if Australia revokes its visa again, but it will play heavily for Australians, where the unvaccinated have been demonized for months (so as not to supporting the public good) Aust has vax rates of 90pc. “
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Retired MP and tennis star John Alexander has said the Australian government should no longer interfere in the Djokovic case.
“The judge was very clear in his findings and comments on the conclusion, basically saying what more this man could have done to meet the criteria that had been set,” Alexander told RN Breakfast on Tuesday.
“It was a pretty categorical decision. The minister has the right to override, but it would appear that Djokovic is not a threat to Australian society.
“… This is something that shouldn’t become a political issue. It’s not political at this point.
Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg suggested on Twitter that Djokovic would be better served to get to a training ground “immediately”.
“Take pictures of yourself being there and already being a part of the tournament so that – optically if nothing else – your participation looks like a done deal. This makes it more difficult for the government to hold back, ”he wrote.
It appears Djokovic did just that, with his family confirming from Serbia that he had already trained late Monday night.
“DAMAGE ON ALL FRONTS”
Men’s tennis governing body said the visa battle over Novak Djokovic’s vaccination status was “damaging on all fronts.”
ATP said they sympathized with both Djokovic and the Australian public and said they have done everything possible to avoid potential problems for players entering the country for the Australian Open.
Monday’s decision by a Melbourne judge overturned Djokovic’s visa cancellation for Covid-19 health reasons and ended the unvaccinated player’s detention at an immigration center, potentially opening the door to him. way to play in the tournament which starts next Monday.
“ATP fully respects the sacrifices made by the Australian people since the onset of COVID-19 and the strict immigration policies that have been put in place,” the statement said.
But ATP said it was clear Djokovic believed he could enter Australia after being granted the necessary medical exemption.
“The series of events leading up to Monday’s hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including Novak’s well-being and his preparation for the Australian Open,” the statement continued.
However, he said ATP “continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP Tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to weather the pandemic.” The body said the medical exemption requests had been made independently of ATP, but had been “in constant contact with Tennis Australia for clarification throughout this process.”