How we got here — Timeline of Novak Djokovic’s visa saga ahead of Australian Open


Novak Djokovic intends to pursue a tenth Australian Open title as the primary tennis main of the 12 months begins on Monday. But earlier than the Serbian participant can flip his consideration to breaking a 20-Grand Slam singles titles tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the world’s top-ranked males’s participant should first resolve his ongoing visa saga.

The 34-year-old, who’s one main closing win from claiming the lads’s document, nonetheless dangers the possibility of deportation.

Djokovic’s visa was canceled upon his arrival to Melbourne, Australia, final week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, however he has since received a authorized battle on procedural grounds permitting him to remain within the nation. Then, on Friday, his visa was revoked once more and now he’s going through potential deportation.

The newest twist within the saga over whether or not the athlete needs to be allowed to remain in Australia regardless of not being vaccinated revolves across the revelation that he supplied false info on an immigration type.

Here is a timeline of the occasions that led us up to now:


Jan. 14, 2022: Djokovic has visa revoked once more, however prone to attraction

Although the primary spherical of play on the 12 months’s first Grand Slam is quick approaching, Djokovic’s standing stays unsure after the Australian authorities for a second time revoked his visa. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his ministerial discretion to tug the visa. Djokovic and his legal professionals may have a gathering with immigration officers in Melbourne at 8 a.m. native time (4 p.m. ET on Friday).


Jan. 13, 2022: Djokovic slated to open title protection in opposition to Kecmanovic

After a delayed draw ceremony — a match official declines to remark to media on why the beginning time is pushed again — it’s revealed that Djokovic will face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic within the first spherical of the Australian Open, if he is allowed to play.

According to the 2022 Grand Slam Rule Book, if Djokovic is compelled to tug out of the match earlier than the order of play for Day 1 is introduced, No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev would transfer into his spot within the bracket.


Jan. 12, 2022: Djokovic clarifies COVID-19 timeline; acknowledges ‘administrative mistake’

Djokovic’s most in depth public feedback on the occasions which have transpired in Australia come by way of a put up on social media. The put up is shared by another person whereas he’s in Rod Laver Arena holding his third observe session on the match’s foremost court docket since being launched from 4 nights in immigration detention.

In the assertion, the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion acknowledges a mistake on his journey declaration for Australia — which did not point out that he had been in a number of nations over the prior two weeks — and confessed to an “error of judgment” in collaborating in an interview and photograph shoot in Serbia final month after testing optimistic for COVID-19.

Djokovic blames his agent for checking the fallacious field on the shape, calling it “a human error and certainly not deliberate.” He additionally sought to make clear what he known as “continuing misinformation” about his actions after he grew to become contaminated final month, although he didn’t particularly state what inaccuracies he was alluding to.

The 34-year-old stays in limbo earlier than the 12 months’s first tennis main begins Monday, as he nonetheless faces the prospect of deportation. It’s a choice that’s solely on the discretion of Australia’s immigration minister, if deemed to be within the public curiosity for well being and security causes.

Deportation might lead to sanctions ranging as much as a three-year ban from coming into Australia, a very daunting risk for a participant who has received nearly half of his 20 Grand Slam singles titles within the nation.


Jan. 11, 2022: Djokovic confirmed as No. 1 seed for Australian Open

Although his standing stays unsure, Djokovic is listed as the highest seed for the lads’s discipline on the Australian Open. The match organizers strictly observe the present rankings in figuring out seedings and Djokovic is ranked No. 1; he has spent extra weeks atop the ATP than another man within the historical past of the lads’s skilled tour’s computerized rankings.

Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Djokovic within the US Open closing final 12 months to stop the Serbian participant from capturing a calendar-year Grand Slam, is seeded second. They are adopted by Alexander Zverev at No. 3, Stefanos Tsitsipas at No. 4 and Andrey Rublev at No. 5.

Nadal is seeded sixth. Federer isn’t enjoying within the match whereas he continues his restoration from proper knee surgical procedure.


Jan. 10, 2022: Djokovic’s visa is reinstated; launched from immigration detention

Djokovic appeals the cancellation of his visa at a digital court docket listening to on Monday, submitting an affidavit that claims he’s not vaccinated for COVID-19 and arguing he didn’t want proof of vaccination as a result of he had proof that he had been contaminated with the coronavirus final month. Australian medical authorities have dominated {that a} short-term exemption for the vaccination rule will be supplied to individuals who have been contaminated with COVID-19 inside six months.

Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly reinstates Djokovic’s visa, ruling the participant was not given sufficient time to talk to his legal professionals earlier than the choice to disclaim him entry was made and noting Djokovic had supplied officers at Melbourne’s airport with a medical exemption given to him by Tennis Australia and two medical panels. Kelly additionally orders the federal government to launch Djokovic from immigration detention.

Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park hours later. He additionally takes to Twitter to specific his gratitude and specific that he stays centered on the match.

Government lawyer Christopher Tran tells the choose after the ruling that the minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation.”


Jan. 9, 2022: Djokovic’s parents join protest in Serbia

Djokovic’s parents join a protest rally in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, with their son still in an Australian immigration detention hotel. Fans of Djokovic in Serbia anxiously await the court hearing that could decide whether he can play at the Australian Open.


Jan. 6, 2022: Djokovic denied entry into Australia; visa canceled

After being detained for about eight hours at the airport upon arrival, the 20-time major winner is denied entry to the country and his visa is canceled. The Australian Border Force says Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements. Health Minister Greg Hunt says the visa cancellation followed a review of Djokovic’s medical exemption — which was expected to shield him from the strict COVID-19 vaccination regulations in place — by border officials who looked “on the integrity and the proof behind it.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweets: “Rules are guidelines, particularly with regards to our borders.”

The tennis star is delivered to a resort used to deal with immigration detainees in Carlton, an inner-northern suburb of Melbourne, the place he stays for 4 nights. Fans collect in protest exterior the resort.

Djokovic’s spouse, Jelena, takes to Twitter to share her ideas on the state of affairs.


Jan. 5, 2022: Djokovic arrives at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

A public outcry surfaces on social media amongst Australians whereas Djokovic’s flight to Melbourne is within the air. The Age newspaper in Melbourne studies Djokovic lands earlier than midnight native time on Wednesday at Tullamarine Airport, however his entry is delayed as a result of of a mistake along with his visa software.

Djokovic’s father says Novak is being held in a room with police out entrance.


Jan. 4, 2022: Djokovic proclaims he’s heading Down Under with medical exemption

Djokovic reveals he’ll compete on the tennis season’s opening Grand Slam occasion after receiving a medical exemption from getting vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19. He posts a photograph of himself at an airport on Instagram with a caption that reads, partly: “I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission.” Tennis Australia follows with a statement confirming Djokovic is on his way to the country with a medical exemption that has been “granted following a rigorous evaluate course of involving two separate impartial panels of medical consultants.”

Neither Djokovic nor Tennis Australia reveals the idea for his exemption. Australian Open match director Craig Tiley says a “handful” of exemptions had been granted out of 26 applications from players or others.


Jan. 1, 2022: Tiley is asked about Djokovic’s status

After much speculation over Djokovic’s participation, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is asked about the Serbian’s status for the Australian Open and responds: “There’s fairly a bit to play out and I feel it can play out within the coming days.”


Dec. 29, 2021: Djokovic pulls out of ATP Cup

Days earlier than the competitors is because of start in Sydney, Djokovic withdraws from Serbia’s group for the ATP Cup. No cause is given.

“Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the ATP Cup in Sydney, we have no update as yet on his plans for the Australian Open,” a Tennis Australia spokeswoman stated in an emailed assertion.


Dec. 22, 2021: Djokovic checks adverse

According to court docket paperwork, Djokovic checks adverse for COVID-19 in Serbia.


Dec. 18, 2021: Djokovic does interview and photograph shoot for L’Equipe

Knowing he examined optimistic, Djokovic does an interview and photograph shoot with the French newspaper L’Equipe. He acknowledges weeks later: “On reflection, this was an error of judgment.”


Dec. 17, 2021: Djokovic attends Belgrade occasion

The nine-time Australian Open champion attends an occasion in Belgrade, Serbia, honoring youth tennis gamers. Parents put up pictures on social media displaying Djokovic and the younger gamers with out masks. Djokovic later says he was asymptomatic, had taken an antigen take a look at earlier than the occasion that confirmed he was adverse, and solely obtained a optimistic PCR end result after the occasion.


Dec. 16, 2021: Djokovic checks optimistic

Djokovic checks optimistic for COVID-19 in Serbia, though that’s not public data till it’s revealed by court docket paperwork in January. He later says he didn’t know the end result till Dec. 17.


Dec. 14, 2021: Djokovic attends a basketball sport

The tennis star takes in knowledgeable basketball sport in Belgrade, Serbia. He is photographed hugging a number of gamers from each groups, together with some who later examined optimistic for COVID-19.


Dec. 8, 2021: Merlino speaks on medical exemptions

Victoria state Deputy Premier James Merlino says medical exemptions for the vaccine coverage wouldn’t be “a loophole for privileged tennis players” and would only be possible in “distinctive circumstances, if in case you have an acute medical situation.”


Nov. 19, 2021: Tiley states all Australian Open members have to be vaccinated

Confirming an edict made by the Victorian state authorities in late October, match director Craig Tiley says everybody on the 2022 Australian Open have to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Djokovic’s vaccine standing is unknown on the time.


June 2020: The Adria Tour is named off, Djokovic contracts COVID-19

Djokovic proclaims that he and his spouse, Jelena, have examined optimistic for COVID-19 after he performed in a sequence of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia with no social distancing or masking required amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Adria Tour is canceled as Djokovic is the fourth participant to check optimistic for the sickness after collaborating within the matches held in Belgrade and Zadar, Croatia.


April 2020: Djokovic says he’s ‘holding an open thoughts’ relating to vaccine

As the coronavirus pandemic rages, Djokovic says in a Facebook Live, “Personally, I’m against vaccination, and I would not wish to be compelled by somebody to take a vaccine so as to have the ability to journey. … But if it turns into obligatory, I must decide whether or not to do it, or not.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.





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