Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button Follow Me on Pinterest
NewsVideosLive ScoresTV ListingsTournamentsRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastMagazine

Popular This Week

Net Notes - A Tennis Now Blog

Net Posts

Industry Insider - A Tennis Now Blog

Industry Insider

Second Serve - A Tennis Now Blog

Second Serve


Report: Government Still Plans To Boot Djokovic

By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Novak Djokovic's Melbourne Park practice sessions may be the extent of his Australian Open participation this year.

Australian government officials are "still preparing" a case to cancel Djokovic's visa and send him packing out of Australia, The Herald Sun reports.

More: Djokovic on Visa Victory

While the world No. 1 issued a social media post aiming to clarify what he called "misinformation", Australian Border officials are investigating if Djokovic intentionally lied when filling out his immigration entry form. Djokovic counters it was simply an unforced error his agent made amid the stress of international travel.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion said his agent mistakenly ticked "the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia. This was a human error and certainly not deliberate."


A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)

Still, the entry form error, combined with the fact the government has repeatedly said all players must be fully vaxxed to enter the country and play the Australian Open, may well be the deciding factors (along with political pressure) that prompt authorities to give Djokovic the boot from Oz.

Some Aussie media suggest government officials do not want to appear as toothless tigers to the Australian public, particularly Melbourne residents who endured one of the most severe pandemic lockdowns on the planet, and therefore will act on their word that any unvaxxed player will be sent home.

Travelers landing in Australia are asked on the nation's entry form if they have “travelled or will travel in the 14 days prior to your flight to Australia." That question is accompanied by a warning: “Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information.”

Photos published by AFP and Getty showed Djokovic's entry form, which he says was filled out by his agent, ticked "No" to the 14-day travel question.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
Photo credits: AFP & Getty

On Monday, Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly reinstated Djokovic’s visa, which was revoked after he arrived in Melbourne last week because Australia’s Border Force said he didn’t meet the nation’s medical exemption requirement that all non-citizens must be fully vaccinated to enter.

After Judge Kelly ruled in Djokovic’s favor and ordered the government to release him from the immigration hotel where he spent four controversial nights, the government’s lawyer said the Serbian could still be cancelled.

Government attorney Christopher Tran told the court Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation.”

If Australia’s immigration minister opts to cancel Djokovic’s visa, then he’d not only miss this month’s Australian Open, he could be banned from the nation for three years.

As Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park hoping to defend his Australian Open title and capture a men's record 21st major championship, immigration minister Hawke and government officials are deciding his fate.

A spokesman for Hawke told Fox Sports Australia, the Immigration Minister is "thoroughly" considering the case before deciding whether to cancel Djokovic's visa.

“As noted yesterday in the Federal Circuit and Family Court, Minister Hawke is considering whether to cancel Mr Djokovic’s visa under section 133c (3) of the Migration Act,” a spokesperson for Hawke said. “In line with due process, Minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter.

“As the issue is ongoing, for legal reasons, it is inappropriate to comment further."

A decision is expected soon as the Australian Open starts on January 17th with the draw set for January 13th.

The Djokovic debacle has escalated into an international story that's created criticism and embarrassment for Tennis Australia, government officials and the world No. 1 himself.

Stakes are extremely high with tennis history, Djokovic's legacy and political authority on line.

Both Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić are taking strong public stands on the Djokovic case. It's created a whirlwind of chaos, controversy and continued debate on health and safety protocols, personal freedom and tournament authority amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Now, that perfect storm of governmental tug of war, Djokovic's fate, the AO draw and Australian Open first ball on Monday are all tracking toward combustible climax sometime this week.

Given how polarizing the Djokovic case has become, if the nine-time champion, who is unvaccinated, is permitted to stay and play the Melbourne major we could see the most raucous, loudest and most engaged crowds in recent Grand Slam history and perhaps astronomical TV audiences tuning it to see where a wildly unpredictable story turns next.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve Photos