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Novak Djokovic continues to dominate the headlines in sport and beyond, as his quest to feature at the Australian Open encompasses the courts, government figures, leading faces from within tennis and, presumably, science.
The world No1 has had his visa to enter the country revoked once more, just days after winning his initial appeal and starting to practice out on the court.
Djokovic’s team of lawyers have labelled the decision as “patently irrational” and submitted an injunction to block him being deported from the country, also calling for a quick hearing to sort the saga once and for all.
Another legal bid to overturn the decision for good is to be taken, according to Karen Sweeney, court reporter for AAP - leading others to speculate what might be factored into any new appeal and subsequent decision.
Nick Wood SC says Novak Djokovic is seeking the same relief as in the earlier proceeding - that the decision be quashed and he be released from detention.
He says they can be more ambitious on timing and think they can file a formal application by 10.15pm today.
— Karen Sweeney (@karenlsweeney) January 14, 2022
A reasonable point from Djokovic lawyers. The minister has considered the effect of Djokovic's words and actions on anti-vax sentiment. But has not considered the effect of his own, pretty extreme response on those same people
— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) January 14, 2022
And interesting to see if the false declaration made in Novak's travel declaration, or his post COVID PCR behaviour, makes an appearance, given most assumed that would have formed the key reason for revoking his visa.
— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) January 14, 2022
If he overturns another decision and plays, James Gray at the i newspaper noted he would have very little preparation time before playing competitively - while the grounds for the decision taken by Australian officials is also being questioned, given rising Covid numbers. One day prior to Djokovic’s visa being cancelled, Australia recorded a record number - over 147,000 new positive cases, per Reuters.
So if Novak Djokovic is to play the #AusOpen, he will play on Monday (presumably night), maybe just 24 hours after receiving judgment in a hearing that dictates whether he will ever be allowed to play the tournament again. https://t.co/CtsTxicx5l
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) January 14, 2022
Australia 🇦🇺 cancelled Djokovic's visa because he could endanger the success of their zero-Covid policy: pic.twitter.com/1GqJrdc8KV
— Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) January 14, 2022
However, it’s clear plenty have little sympathy for Djokovic and his behaviour, given how he has reacted previously to others in the sport not going with the flow. On a related note, it’s striking to some how his actions have been treated in some quarters, in comparison to those who are not - to be blunt - white men.
Remember when Novak Djokovic called out Naomi Osaka for not following the rules?
“I understand that press conferences sometimes can be very unpleasant,” he said.” 1/ https://t.co/RCgnjtOkwQ
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) January 13, 2022
Imagine if Venus Williams acted like Novak Djokovic.
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) January 12, 2022
Let me say this, if Naomi Osaka, or Serena Williams acted in the way Novak Djokovic has acted in the past couple weeks- the tennis association would be sharpening their knives. They hung Osaka out to dry because she missed a couple pressers, meanwhile on Djokovic...(crickets).
— Francis Maxwell (@francismmaxwell) January 13, 2022
The conversation is already turning to the question of what’s next? Of course, Djokovic has a relatively easy route out of these issues in future, though it’s one he appears set against - and as it stands, this effectively means the end of his hopes of winning any more Australian Open titles.
(Periodic and important reminder that Djokovic could have avoided all this rigamarole by simply getting vaccinated like 97%+ of his tennis player peers have.)
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 14, 2022
Novak Djokovic has not only had his visa cancelled for a second time, but unless there are “compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia” will not be eligible for a visa again for a further 3 years.
— Russell Fuller (@russellcfuller) January 14, 2022
Note: this decision bars Djokovic from Australia for three years, meaning he’s out of the Australian Open until 2025. The Immigration Minister can overturn on grounds of “compelling circumstances” that affect the interests of Australia.
— Leigh Sales (@leighsales) January 14, 2022
And finally, it’s not just Djokovic who continues to be criticised, with the Australian government and the policies being acted on also being under heavy scrutiny from journalists throughout the country.
People’s response to Djokovic’s visa cancellation: "No one is above the law" forgetting already that there is an individual who is above the law: the immigration minister. A dictator who’s been playing with our lives.
— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) January 14, 2022
If the Djokovic decision looks capricious, arbitrary and politically motivated, that’s because it is. The Migration Act allows for this because it was designed so refugees lives could be destroyed for political purposes. It must be amended to provide fairness and natural justice
— Nick McKim (@NickMcKim) January 14, 2022
While so many Aussies are deluded by our mainstream media’s hate campaign against Novak Djokovic, little do they realise the rest of the world are laughing at us, not him.
Off this island, our policies are considered bonkers.
— Avi Yemini (@OzraeliAvi) January 12, 2022
Andy Murray, meanwhile, opted not to “kick Novak while he’s down” while reiterating that it wasn’t a good look or situation for any of the parties involved, not excluding the ATP from that.
In addition, Spanish officials have denied there is any investigation underway regarding Djokovic’s alleged Covid breach, entering the country days after testing positive.
The weekend will seemingly determine exactly whether Djokovic, the top seed at the event currently drawn to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round, actually partakes at the Australian Open.