Novak Djokovic news LIVE: Tennis star detained as Australian minister cancels visa over fears of civil unrest

Novak Djokovic has been detained by border officials once more after his visa was cancelled by the Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke. Djokovic’s legal team immediately launched an appeal against the decision, calling it “patently irrational” and claiming Hawke’s decision was based purely on the government’s fear that Djokovic’s appearance at the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, might stir anti-vaccine sentiment in the country.

Djokovic’s final appeal hearing is now set for a federal court at 9.30am on Sunday morning in Melbourne (10.30pm tonight in the UK), and the player’s fate will be decided by Justice David O’Callaghan. If his expensively compiled legal team win the appeal, Djokovic will take on fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round on Monday evening, where he is expected to get a hostile reception from the crowd. If the government wins its case, Djokovic will be deported.

It emerged on Friday that Hawke based his finding not on the validity or otherwise of Djokovic’s medical exemption but on the potential for his continued presence in the country to stoke anti-vaccination sentiments and a threat to public order. Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid-19” and said he had “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”.

Follow all the latest news below as Djokovic fights for a chance to play at the Australian Open.

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Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

After a hastily convened appearance by both legal teams on Friday evening, following the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”, a brief procedural hearing was held on Saturday morning.

It emerged on Friday that Hawke based his finding not on the validity or otherwise of Djokovic’s medical exemption but on the potential for his continued presence in the country to stoke anti-vaccination sentiments and a threat to public order.

Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid-19” and said he had “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”.

Hawke stated his belief that not cancelling the visa could encourage Australians not to take the vaccine, increasing pressure on the health service.

“I consider that his ongoing presence in Australia may pose a risk to the good order of the Australian community,” he said.

What time is Djokovic’s hearing tonight?

Djokovic’s appeal against the re-cancellation of his visa has been confirmed for Sunday morning (tonight in the UK) at the Federal Court of Australia.

After a hastily convened appearance by both legal teams on Friday evening, following the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on the grounds of “health and good order”, a brief procedural hearing was held on Saturday morning.

In it, Justice David O’Callaghan confirmed the case has been transferred from the Federal Circuit Court and that the main hearing will take place at 9.30am on Sunday (10.30pm on Saturday UK time).

Djokovic is due to play his first-round match at the Australian Open against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

Djokovic detained by border officials

A reminder of today’s big news, Novak Djokovic has been detained by Australian border officials in line with the arrangement agreed in court as the world’s number one tennis player fights on to remain in the country.

Djokovic has had his visa revoked twice by immigration officials ahead of the Australian Open because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, and saw immigration minister Alex Hawke again deny his application on Friday.

The 34-year-old Serbian is accused of providing false information on his visa declaration, and claiming that he had not traveled in the 14 days before he arrived in Australia.

Djokovic’s lawyers have appealed the decision and his case will be heard before Justice O’Callaghan at the Federal Court of Australia at 9.30am AEDT on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic appeal set for Sunday morning at Federal Court of Australia

Djokovic is bidding to overturn the decision for a second time ahead of his first match at the Australian Open on Monday.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Djokovic has been in Australia for almost 10 days and his visa has been cancelled twice.

The first time he was detained at a Melbourne airport as he was viewed as a health risk as he hadn’t had the Covid vaccine. He won an appeal to remain in Australia but immigration minister Alex Hawke had the power to cancel it again.

He exercised his right to do so on Friday but Djokovic and his team are hitting back with the case now heading for the Federal Court of Australia.

But how did he get to this point and why? Here’s all you need to know:

How Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa saga unfolded

The saga has taken another dramatic twist

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Nemanja Starovic, a senior official in the foreign ministry of Serbia, has said Djokovic is being “treated like a criminal” in Australia.

Djokovic has his visa cancelled for a second time with the case now being moved to the Federal Court of Australia.

Starovic told BBC: “We have seen other tennis players who didn’t respect their mandatory isolation but they haven’t received the same treatment as Novak.”

He added Serbia are asking Australia not to hold Djokovic in a detainment centre again despite it being agreed amongst both parties in a hearing earlier today.

He said: “He doesn’t deserve that. He’s not an illegal migrant. Relations between our two countries have always been friendly and public opinion about Australia was always strong here in Serbia.

“Unfortunately he was treated like a criminal, so this could potentially damaged the relations between two countries.”

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Meanwhile, Serbian health officials have insisted the Djokovic received the results of his positive PCR test on 15 December by email, despite his claims that he did not get it until a day later.

Djokovic aid in a statement on 12 January that he did not get the results until after he attended a tennis even unmasked, where he met children.

How has the world reacted to Djokovic saga?

It’s clear plenty have little sympathy for Djokovic and his behaviour, given how he has reacted previously to others in the sport not going with the flow.

World reacts to Australia cancelling Novak Djokovic’s visa

Notable figures and journalists lambast the world No1 and those others involved for their part in the saga

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

Following the interview he was permitted to meet with his lawyers and is expected to spend Saturday night in pre-immigration detention as his case waits to be heard, according to reports.

The Australian government has agreed to not deport Djokovic until his case is argued, but if he loses his appeal he could be removed from the country.

Novak Djokovic latest news as Australian Open looms

A 15-minute procedural hearing took place on Saturday morning AEDT to confirm Djokovic’s transfer into the custody of immigration authorities.

Justice O’Callaghan ruled that the Minister for Immigration had to file and serve any amended application by midday Saturday, and that Djokovic had to file his written submission by the same time.

Djokovic’s lawyers asked for the appeal hearing to be carried out before a full court of three judges, while the Australian government asked for it to be heard in front of just one judge in order to preserve appeals in the case.

Djokovic was interviewed by immigration officials on Saturday morning, but was allowed to spend Friday night at his own accommodation in Melbourne despite having his visa cancelled, reported The Australian.

Djokovic visa cancelled over fears of civil unrest

It emerged on Friday that Australian immigration Hawke based his finding not on the validity or otherwise of Djokovic’s medical exemption but on the potential for his continued presence in the country to stoke anti-vaccination sentiments and a threat to public order.

Hawke cited Djokovic’s status as a “high profile unvaccinated individual, who has indicated publicly that he is opposed to becoming vaccinated against Covid-19” and said he had “publicly expressed anti-vaccination sentiment”.

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