January 10 Djokovic Australia visa hearing news

By Jessie Yeung, Hilary Whiteman, Helen Regan, Amy Woodyatt and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 9:32 PM ET, Mon January 10, 2022
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12:06 p.m. ET, January 10, 2022

What happens next?

Novak Djokovic during the Davis Cup semi final between Serbia and Croatia at Madrid Arena on December 03, 2021 in Madrid, Spain.
Novak Djokovic during the Davis Cup semi final between Serbia and Croatia at Madrid Arena on December 03, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Despite the positive news for tennis star Novak Djokovic on Monday, whether he will be able to compete in the Australian Open later this month still remains unclear.

If Djokovic is allowed to stay, when will he play? Following his release from detention, the Serbian tennis star has returned to training, according to his brother. Djokovic has made clear in a series of tweets that he still intends to play in the tournament.

We don't know yet when Djokovic's first match would be, but the main draw is on is Thursday January 13.

Will the Australian Open intervene and cancel his visa? Given that the Australian Open invited Djokovic to play in the tournament, this seems unlikely.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times in his career. The 34-year-old Serbian has also won 20 grand slam singles titles -- an achievement matched by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. If he were to win the tournament, he would break the all-time men’s singles grand slam record.

9:57 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

What's at stake for Djokovic?

From CNN Sport's Patrick Sung and Amy Woodyatt

Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup as he celebrates victory in the men’s singles final against Daniil Medvedev of Russia on day 14 of the 2021 Australian Open last February.
Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup as he celebrates victory in the men’s singles final against Daniil Medvedev of Russia on day 14 of the 2021 Australian Open last February. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

On Monday, a judge in Melbourne ruled that Novak Djokovic should be released from detention, and the government’s cancelation of his visa was overruled.

But Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still has the power to cancel the visa, however, and is “currently considering the matter,” according to a statement from his office.

So what does Djokovic stand to lose if he is not allowed to stay in Australia and compete?

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times in his career. The 34-year-old Serbian has also won 20 grand slam singles titles -- an achievement matched by Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

If Djokovic were to participate in, and win, the Australian Open, he would break the all-time men’s singles grand slam record, beating his rivals and bolstering the claim that he is the best men’s tennis player of all time.

But will his legacy off the court — notably what has happened to him since the start of the pandemic — also impact his sporting legacy?

9:47 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

Djokovic's brother ends news conference after question on activities after positive Covid test

Djordje Djokovic speaks during a news conference on January 10 in Belgrade, Serbia.
Djordje Djokovic speaks during a news conference on January 10 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic did test positive for Covid-19 on December 16, his brother Djordje confirmed at a family news conference in Belgrade.

Speaking in English, Djordje said “Yes, the whole process was public and all the documents were public and legal.”

The brother dodged a final question from a reporter, who asked if Djokovic had been at an event on December 17, by ending the news conference.

Sat next to his son, Djordje and Novak's father Srdjan Djokovic can be heard telling Djordje “it is for the court” when the question is asked.

What's the timeline? Djokovic tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16. That same day, he was photographed at three events, where none of the other participants are masked. The following day, he was also photographed at a youth awards event.

9:28 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

Melbourne police pepper-sprayed celebrating Djokovic supporters

From journalist Danielle Robertson in Melbourne

A man after being pepper sprayed during a rally supporting Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, in Melbourne, Australia, on January 10.
A man after being pepper sprayed during a rally supporting Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, in Melbourne, Australia, on January 10. (Sandra Sanders/Reuters)

Police in the Australian city of Melbourne used pepper spray against Novak Djokovic supporters on Monday afternoon, after the tennis star had his visa cancelation quashed by a court. 

Crowds were celebrating outside Djokovic’s lawyers’ office in Melbourne. Wearing Serbian flags and chanting “Free Novak!” the supporters blocked traffic in the city.

Some of the fans then followed a black car that emerged from the office building, with one man jumping on the vehicle. Police then used pepper spray to diffuse the crowds and some of the demonstrators responded by throwing water bottles back at officers. 

9:16 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

Djokovic's "human rights were taken away from him," says his father

From left to right, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic's mother Dijana, father Srdjan and brother Djordje hold a news conference in Belgrade, on Monday, after a judge in Australia overturned the cancelation of the tennis star's visa.
From left to right, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic's mother Dijana, father Srdjan and brother Djordje hold a news conference in Belgrade, on Monday, after a judge in Australia overturned the cancelation of the tennis star's visa. (Pedja Milosavljevic/AFP/Getty Images)

Djokovic's father Srdjan Djokovic has said that his son's "human rights were taken away from him.”

“They waited for him at the airport, he had no rights … all his human rights were taken away from him," he said at Monday's Djokovic family news conference in Belgrade .

“He did not want to sign the document that would cancel his visa … they kept asking him to sign that document … he could not call anyone ... he was just alone with the border police.”

“He finally got in contact with his team of lawyers and he had a great defense team ... they did such a good job that they are not going to deport him in the end,” the tennis star's father said.

Srdjan heaped praise on the judge who ruled in favor of his son, adding that he did an “excellent job.”

He went on to praise his son as an "amazing young man who never harmed anyone.”

Deportation worries: Meanwhile, the player's mother Dijana Djokovic said she is “very worried” her son may still get deported.

“This situation has been very difficult,” she said, adding: “we tried really hard to fight for him.”

“We could not call him they took his telephone from him,” she said. “You can imagine what we have gone through in the past few days," she added.

8:44 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

Djokovic has returned to training, his brother says

At a Belgrade press conference, the brother of Novak Djokovic thanked supporters of the tennis star and said he hoped Novak would come out of this as a champion.

"Everything is completed, finally, and Novak is finally free. Novak was on the tennis court a little earlier, he trained a little bit, and this is how he fights for himself — he plays tennis," Djordje Djokovic told the news conference.

“Novak did nothing wrong,” he added, saying he was thrilled that” the Australian legal system had come through for Novak.”

8:31 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

Djokovic 'grateful' visa cancellation overturned, still wants to compete in Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has tweeted that he is "pleased and grateful" that a judge quashed the Australian government's decision to cancel his visa. He said that "despite all that has happened," he wants to remain in country to "try to compete" in the Australian Open.

He also thanked his supporters for standing with him and encouraging him to "stay strong."

8:40 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

A timeline of events

Serbian tennis fans celebrate at Collins Street as they wait for Djokovic to leave on January 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.
Serbian tennis fans celebrate at Collins Street as they wait for Djokovic to leave on January 10, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Diego Fedele/Getty Images)

If you're just joining us, here's a recap of events that have led up to now.

According to Djokovic's affidavit:

  • October or November 2021: Djokovic files for an Australian temporary entry visa to compete in the Australian Open.
  • November 18: Djokovic is granted the visa.
  • December 16: Djokovic tests positive for Covid-19. That same day, he is photographed at three events, where none of the other participants are masked. The following day, he is also photographed at a youth awards event.
  • December 22: He tests negative for the virus.
  • December 30: He receives a medical exemption from Covid vaccination for entry from Tennis Australia, on the grounds that he had just recovered from Covid.
  • January 1: Djokovic's team submits his travel declaration to the Australian Ministry of Home Affairs, which notifies them that it has been assessed and he is cleared for quarantine-free arrival.
  • January 2: Djokovic receives a Border Travel Permit by the state government of Victoria, where Melbourne is located and where the tournament will take place.
  • January 4: Djokovic departs from Spain.
  • January 5: He arrives in Melbourne late at night, close to midnight. His passport is taken, and he is escorted to a small room where he is interviewed by border control officers.
  • January 6: His visa is canceled by the Australian government, and he is taken to a temporary detention facility at the Park Hotel in Melbourne.
  • January 10: His hearing commences, with the judge deciding to quash the cancelation of his visa and order his release from detention. Australia's immigration minister still has the power to cancel the visa, however, and is "currently considering the matter," according to a statement.

7:15 a.m. ET, January 10, 2022

Djokovic situation "a circus," says rival Nadal

From CNN's Aleks Klosok, Patrick Sung and Vasco Cotovio

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts on point during his men's singles match against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania at the Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 6, 2022.
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts on point during his men's singles match against Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania at the Melbourne Summer Set tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 6, 2022. (Mike Frey/AFP/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has described the ongoing controversy with his rival Novak Djokovic as "a circus."

"Whether or not I agree with Djokovic on something, justice has spoken and has said he has the right to participate in the Australian Open and I think it is the fairest decision to do so," Nadal told Spanish radio station Onda Cero on Monday.

Nadal last week said that he feels "sorry" for Djokovic ahead of the Australian Open but added that his rival has long been aware of the vaccine requirement to play in the tournament.

Djokovic is tied with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 grand slam titles.

Nadal joked Monday: "Well, on a personal level, I much prefer he doesn't play!"

“At the end of the day it’s sports, and there’s a lot of interests around sports, on a general level, on an economic level, on a publicity level and in that sense it’s always better when the best are playing, because it generates more interest,” he quickly added. “Egoistically speaking, for our sport it’s better when the best in the world are on the court competing than anywhere else.”

Virus has "changed our lives": Nadal said that despite the “circus” that had been created around Djokovic, that he had no doubt about the seriousness of Covid-19.

“There’s something that’s clear, for all the debate that there may be, which is that there are millions of deaths worldwide, because of a virus – this is a reality,” he said

“What I don’t have any doubt about is that this virus has changed all of our lives.”

Nadal added that when it came to health he sought to listen to those that knew more than he did.

“I know about tennis, less about other things,” he said.

“All the most important global institutions, governments, science say that the vaccine is the way to stop this pandemic and the disaster we have lived through for nearly 20 months and I try to follow their advice.”

“I don’t feel more intelligent or less intelligent for doing it,” he said, reiterating that he believed people should be afforded a choice, while adding that actions have consequences.