Novak Djokovic visa hearing: Rafael Nadal backs great Australian Open ‘with or without’ world No 1 | Tennis News

Australian authorities detained world number one Novak Djokovic again ahead of a second visa appeal hearing Sunday morning (Saturday evening GMT); Djokovic is scheduled to play Miomir Kikmanovic in the first round

Last update: 1/15/22 7:28 AM


Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal pictured after their semi-final match at the French Open in July

The Australian Open is more important than just one player and it will be a great tournament “with or without” Novak Djokovic, according to Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard has made it clear on a number of occasions that he does not agree with Djokovic’s resistance to a Covid-19 vaccination and the degree to which the ongoing visa battle has overshadowed the tournament is frustrating to many.

Speaking at his pre-tournament press conference, Nadal said: “It is very clear that Novak Djokovic is undoubtedly one of the best players in history. But no single player in history is more important than the event.

“The Australian Open is so much more important than any player. If he plays last, well. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be a great Australian Open at the Australian Open with or without him.”

Andy Murray says the situation surrounding Novak Djokovic's latest visa is not good but refuses to criticize the Serbian

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Andy Murray says the situation surrounding Novak Djokovic’s latest visa is not good but refuses to criticize the Serbian

Andy Murray says the situation surrounding Novak Djokovic’s latest visa is not good but refuses to criticize the Serbian

Djokovic has appealed against the decision to cancel his visa for the second time and a court hearing will take place on Sunday morning (10:30 pm Saturday GMT), a day before his date with Miomir Kekmanovic in the first round.

World No. 1 issued a statement earlier this week in which he admitted that he took part in an interview last month when he learned he tested positive for the virus, and that each new development in the saga drew great attention.

Novak Djokovic has admitted making an 'error of judgment' by attending an interview and taking pictures with a French newspaper after he tested positive for Covid-19 last month.

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Novak Djokovic has admitted making an ‘error of judgment’ by attending an interview and taking pictures with a French newspaper after he tested positive for Covid-19 last month.

Novak Djokovic has admitted making an ‘error of judgment’ by attending an interview and taking pictures with a French newspaper after he tested positive for Covid-19 last month.

Nadal said: “In my view, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. In some ways, I think it would be good if everything is cleared up soon.

“Everyone chooses his own path. I wish him all the best. I really respect him, even if I don’t agree with a lot of the things he’s done in the past two weeks.”

‘It’s Up to Him: His Choices and Judgment’

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was highly critical of Djokovic in an interview earlier this week, closed the topic on Saturday, saying: “Obviously a lot of people are talking about it. That’s why I’m here to talk about tennis. There isn’t enough tennis. It’s been talked about. In the past two weeks, which is unfortunate.”

Public opinion in Australia wasn’t on Djokovic’s side, and Alex de Minaur offered a homely view, saying: “The Australians have been through a lot. There’s no secret to it. They’ve been through something very difficult. They have done a lot of work to protect themselves and their borders.”

Andrew Castle believes Novak Djokovic could have some trouble playing in future tournaments as he faces removal from Australia

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Andrew Castle believes Novak Djokovic could have some trouble playing in future tournaments as he faces removal from Australia

Andrew Castle believes Novak Djokovic could have some trouble playing in future tournaments as he faces removal from Australia

“When you come, like any other tennis player, if you want to come to the country, you have to get a double vaccination. It’s up to him: his choices, his judgment.”

Alexander Zverev is usually one of Djokovic’s strongest supporters on his tour and believes that the world’s number one player status has counted against him.

“I don’t know enough about the situation but I think if world number one Novak Djokovic, with 20 grand slams, wasn’t all that, the drama wouldn’t be so great,” he said.

“I understand the point of view from the Australian people and the government. The Australian government and the Victorian government should have been clear about what is going to happen beforehand. I think it’s not fair for anyone to come here and not be able to play.”

Novak Djokovic – Sequence of events

January 4 – Djokovic announces that he will travel to Australia with “permission exemption”.
January 5 – While Djokovic was airborne, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the athlete would be on the “next plane to fly home” if he could not provide “acceptable evidence” that his exemption was legitimate.
Acting Sports Minister Gala Polford highlights that the local government in Victoria, where the Australian Open is being held, will not support Djokovic’s visa application.
World No. 1 arrives at Melbourne Airport around 11:30 pm local time.
January 6 – Around 3.15am, Djokovic’s father reports that his son is being held in isolation at Melbourne Airport.
At 5 am, Goran Ivanisevic posted a photo on social media of him and another member of Djokovic’s squad apparently waiting for the world number one.
Around 8.15am local time, Djokovic’s visa refusal was confirmed by the Australian Border Force.
Djokovic has been moved to a quarantine hotel while his legal team is appealing the visa cancellation.
His appeal against the visa revocation has been postponed until Monday (10 January) AM AST.
January 7 – Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says Djokovic is “free to leave at any time” and has not been arrested.
Djokovic broke the silence in an Instagram post Friday, thanking his fans for their “continued support”.
January 8 – Djokovic’s lawyer revealed on Saturday that he tested positive for Covid-19 in December.
January 9 Home Affairs Secretary Andrews filed a motion to postpone the hearing until Wednesday (January 12) which Judge Anthony Kelly denied.
A report from an Australian government lawyer says Djokovic has not been given guarantees that he will be allowed into the country with his medical exemption.
January 10 – Djokovic wins appeal. Judge Anthony Kelly reverses visa cancellation, orders the Australian government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention.
Djokovic takes to social media to confirm that he is still determined to compete in the Australian Open.
January 12 – Djokovic posts on Instagram admitting to making a “miscalculation” by attending an interview and taking photos with a French newspaper after he tested positive for Covid-19 last month.
January 14 – Novak Djokovic faces deportation after the Australian government revokes his visa for the second time.
January 15 – The case has been referred to the Australian Federal Court and the appeal hearing is officially scheduled for 9:30 local time on Sunday (January 16) am.

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