Djokovic Australia Visa Hearing News: Live Updates

credit…Alana Holmberg for The New York Times

The Australian government has revoked for the second time Novak Djokovic, the number one player in men’s tennis and the most prominent vaccine skeptic, as he arrived last week hoping to defend his Australian Open title.

Here’s a look at how the confrontation developed:

The sudden exemption gave Djokovic a clear opportunity to avoid Australia’s strict vaccination rules.

Djokovic has won the last three men’s singles titles at the Australian Open, scoring nine in his career. But he has come under scrutiny for his unscientific beliefs, including his support for the claim that positive emotions can purify toxic water or food, and the avoidance of a coronavirus vaccine.

Last year, the Australian Open announced that participants in this month’s tournament must be fully vaccinated, in line with the country’s entry requirements. Djokovic’s participation was seen as unlikely until he announced on 4 January that he would play after receiving an exemption. He later learned that his exemption was based on a recent infection with the Corona virus.

The federal government stopped Djokovic at the border.

Djokovic was stopped at Melbourne Airport late on January 5 after he traveled from Spain via Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He was questioned at the airport for hours before being sent to a quarantine hotel.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has faced criticism over the government’s response to Covid-19, announced that Djokovic had been denied entry because he had not been vaccinated. Federal officials said previous coronavirus infections were not valid grounds for exemptions from vaccination granted by Australian tennis officials and local authorities in Victoria, the state where the tournament is being held.

Djokovic, who has been moved to a quarantine hotel pending his departure, immediately lodged a legal appeal.

Djokovic won an appeal, but questions soon emerged.

On Monday, after Djokovic spent five days in a hotel for refugees and asylum seekers, a judge ruled that he had been treated unfairly at the airport, rejected an opportunity and promised to contact his lawyer or Australian Open officials, and returned his visa.

But the documents released as part of the legal proceedings have raised questions about Djokovic’s actions.

Records show he took a coronavirus test at 1:05pm on December 16 in Belgrade, Serbia, and got the positive result seven hours later. But social media posts showed he attended two public events on the day he sought the audition, as well as a tennis event the next day in Belgrade, where he presented prizes to children. Franck Ramilla, a reporter for French sports daily L’Equipe, wrote this week that when he interviewed Djokovic on December 18, he did not know the athlete had just tested positive.

Questions have also been raised about whether Djokovic made a false statement on his entry to Australia when he said he had not traveled internationally in the 14 days preceding his trip from Spain. His social media posts showed him in Serbia on Christmas Day.

Djokovic admitted mistakes.

In a statement on Wednesday, Djokovic said he was not yet aware of his examination when he attended the children’s event, and admitted he made a poor decision not to cancel the interview with the French journalist. He said a member of his support team made a “human error” when filling out his papers.

But the statement, read as a belated request for kindness and an explanation for irresponsible behavior, may have come too late. By then, Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, was already seriously considering using his powers to revoke the visa for a second time.

Australian Immigration Minister cancels Djokovic’s visa.

On Friday, Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, said in a statement that he had rescinded Djokovic’s visa on the grounds of “health and good order”, adding that it was in the public interest. Djokovic’s lawyers said they would appeal immediately, as the Australian Open begins on Monday and his ability to contend for the men’s 21st Grand Slam title is in jeopardy.

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