Novak Djokovic’s defense of his Australian Open title ended before it began after Australian immigration officials canceled his visa for the second time on January 16.
This is how the saga has developed:
January 4: Djokovic tweets that he is heading to the Australian Open armed with a medical exemption. He wrote on Instagram: “I’ve spent some fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the holidays and today I’m heading to Australia on an exemption permit. Let’s go 2022!!’
January 5: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison then warns Djokovic that he will be on the “next plane home” if his medical exemption is deemed insufficient, and is adamant that Djokovic will not receive preferential treatment.
January 5: Djokovic’s visa is canceled upon arrival in Melbourne. The Australian Border Force announces that the player “failed to provide adequate evidence to meet entry requirements into Australia.”
January 6th: Djokovic is sent to Melbourne’s Park Hotel after being denied a visa. He launches an appeal, which is postponed until 10 a.m. on January 10. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says Djokovic is a victim of “persecution.”
January 9th: Djokovic’s lawyers claim he was granted a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because he tested positive for Covid-19 in Serbia on December 16. However, social media posts suggest that he attended several social events in the days following his apparent diagnosis.
January 10: The cancellation of Djokovic’s visa is overturned by Judge Anthony Kelly, who orders the Australian government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention within half an hour. Djokovic says he is “happy and grateful” and wants to “stay and try to compete.”
January 11: Djokovic’s title defense remains in doubt as the Australian Immigration Minister mulls overturning the court’s ruling, reportedly due to an alleged misleading statement made by Djokovic on his registration form regarding his movements in the 14 days. prior to arrival in Australia.
12th of January: Djokovic admits making an “error in judgment” by attending an interview with a French journalist while Covid positive. He adds that, although he attended a children’s tennis event the day after being tested, he was not notified of the positive result until after the event.
January 13th: Djokovic will face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.
January 14: Immigration Minister Alex Hawke cancels Djokovic’s visa for the second time, saying in a statement it was “for reasons of health and good order.”
January 15: Djokovic’s lawyers won a small victory in court, as the judge agreed to have the matter heard by a three-judge panel on Sunday, a decision the government fiercely opposes.
January 16: Djokovic LOSES his appeal and is told he will be deported. He is later seen at Melbourne airport as he and his team leave Australia.