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Novak Djokovic’s visa hearing looms as Australian government request for delay is denied

Karen Andrews, Australia’s Home Secretary, filed a request on Saturday asking for “the final hearing to be adjourned to Wednesday 12 January 2022” – five days before the tournament begins.

No reason has been given for the postponement request, but it comes just hours after Djokovic’s legal team submitted a 35-page document outlining the player’s defense against the decision. intends to cancel his provisional visa.

As part of that protective measure, it was reported that Djokovic was granted a medical exemption ahead of the Australian Open as he was just recovering from his match against Covid-19.

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In a letter dated December 7, revealed to journalists this week and not independently confirmed by CNN, it appears that the Australian Open organizers misinformed unvaccinated players that they can enter Australia to attend the tournament.

Court documents released on Saturday confirm that Djokovic – who has previously spoken out against the Covid-19 vaccine and vaccine mandates – was not vaccinated when he arrived in Australia on January 5.

His visa hearing is now scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. local time on Monday (6 p.m. Sunday ET), with a decision on whether he can stay in Australia and compete in the tournament scheduled for 4pm (12am ET) or not.

If the court upholds the cancellation of his visa, Djokovic will be deported as soon as appropriate travel arrangements can be made.

According to Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, it was “contradictory information” that led to an exemption for players who were not vaccinated before the Australian Open.

In an interview with CNN affiliate 9 News on Sunday, Tiley refused to blame any party. He said Tennis Australia was in touch with the Australian Department of Home Affairs “on a weekly basis” and all stakeholders were operating in a “very challenging environment.”

Tiley added that he wants to see Djokovic play at the Australian Open. The world No 1 is hoping to win her 10th Australian Open title and 21st Grand slam title in Melbourne this month.

Djokovic’s detention at the Park Hotel, an Alternative Detention Facility for refugees and asylum seekers, since Thursday has attracted widespread attention; Supporters have gathered outside calling for his release, while others have highlighted the plight of some 30 refugees also being held in the hotel.

Novak Djokovic's fans are fighting to get him out of his hotel.  Inside, the refugees wondered if they would ever leave
Back in Djokovic’s hometown of Serbia, His parents organized protests about the conditions under which they say their son is being “contained” in the hotel – a claim Andrews denied earlier this week.

“He is free to leave anytime he chooses to do so, and Border Force will really facilitate that,” Andrews told ABC on Friday.

In an interview with Serbian national broadcaster RTV Pink on Saturday, the country’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said Djokovic would receive “gluten-free meals, exercise equipment and a laptop.” while he continues to be detained.

According to court documents released on Saturday, Djokovic has repeatedly requested to be transferred to a “more suitable detention facility so that he can practice” ahead of the Australian Open.

Brnabic said she spoke with Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, but was unable to overturn the decision to keep Djokovic at the Park Hotel while he awaits the outcome of his legal case.

“He’s still staying at the Park Hotel, but I hope we’ve made his stay a little more pleasant with the concessions we’ve made for him,” she said.

Josh Pennington contributed to the reporting.

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