January 15 Djokovic Australia visa hearing news

By Hilary Whiteman, Julia Hollingsworth, Rhea Mogul, Brad Lendon, Adrienne Vogt and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 1:15 AM ET, Sun January 16, 2022
11 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:53 p.m. ET, January 15, 2022

Djokovic's federal court hearing has begun

The Federal Court of Australia has started hearing tennis superstar Novak Djokovic's challenge to immigration minister Alex Hawke's decision to cancel his visa on health grounds.

Three judges will consider the matter and hope to finalize the matter within one day before the Australian Open starts in Melbourne on Monday morning.

Djokovic's barrister Nick Wood is first up to argue the case why the decision was wrong.

According to submissions, lawyers for the Serbian tennis player are arguing their case on three grounds:

  • Ground 1 — failure to consider the consequences of cancellation
  • Ground 2 — not open to the Minister to be satisfied the presence of Mr Djokovic “is or may be” a relevant risk
  • Ground 3 — unreasonableness and/or irrationality in regard to finding concerning Mr Djokovic’s “stance on vaccination” etc.

8:24 p.m. ET, January 15, 2022

Djokovic arrives at his lawyer's office ahead of his visa court hearing

From CNN’s David Tunnicliffe and Hannah Richie

Tennis player Novak Djokovic leaves his hotel to meet with his legal team in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday.
Tennis player Novak Djokovic leaves his hotel to meet with his legal team in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

Novak Djokovic has arrived at his lawyer's office ahead of a court hearing where he will appeal the cancellation of his Australian visa.

The hearing is being held virtually and Djokovic is expected to watch proceedings from the law offices.

The hearing will start at 9:30 a.m. local time Sunday (which is 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday). It will be streamed on the Federal Court of Australia’s YouTube channel. 

8:26 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022

Djokovic case to be heard in front of full bench in Federal Court 

From CNN's Hannah Ritchie in Melbourne

World men’s tennis No.1 Novak Djokovic’s visa cancellation case will be heard by a Full Court in the Federal Court of Australia. 

A full court refers to cases where three or more judges sit together in the Federal Court to hear an appeal. 

“This matter will be heard by a Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia comprised of Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan,” the court said Saturday. 

The remote hearing is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. Melbourne time Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday).

Both sides in the case will file their online submissions to the court by 10 p.m. Saturday (6 a.m. ET).

This post has been updated to correct the time in the US that both sides will file their online submissions to the court. They will do so at 6 a.m. ET.

2:20 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022

Djokovic returned to Park Hotel detention facility as protesters gather to demand his release

From CNN's David Tunnicliffe and Hannah Ritchie in Melbourne, Australia

Protesters demonstrate outside Melbourne Park after Novak Djokovic returned to an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne on Saturday.
Protesters demonstrate outside Melbourne Park after Novak Djokovic returned to an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne on Saturday. (Mark Baker/AP)

Novak Djokovic has returned to the Park Hotel detention facility in Melbourne, according to CNN affiliate Nine News. 

The men's world No. 1 was seen in a white van arriving at the hotel, which is also being used as a detention facility for refugees, after he departed his lawyers' office on Saturday afternoon. 

On Saturday morning, Djokovic was detained by Australian border authorities, per a court-ordered arrangement decided Friday, after his visa was revoked for the second time by Australia's immigration minister, Alex Hawke.

He was once again placed in pre-immigration detention, as required under Australian law.

A range of protesters have gathered outside the Park Hotel. Some supporting Djokovic and calling for his release, others speaking out against Australia's detention system.

During his first round of detention in the hotel, Djokovic had requested to be moved to a “more suitable place of detention that would enable him to train,” according to court documents published January 8.

Djokovic's appeal hearing for the second cancellation of his visa is expected to take place on Sunday morning at 9:30 am Australia time, CNN affiliate Nine News reported, citing one of the tennis star's lawyers, Paul Holdenson.

2:03 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev on Djokovic: "If Novak is in the draw, I can only see him in the final"

Tennis player Daniil Medvedev.
Tennis player Daniil Medvedev. (Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia spoiled Novak Djokovic’s quest of winning a calendar grand slam in 2021 (winning all four majors in the same calendar year), when the Russian won the US Open final against the Serb in straight sets. It was Medvedev’s first major title.

If Djokovic gets to play in this year’s Australian Open, will the two meet again? If they do, it would be in the final. Medvedev lost to Djokovic in last year’s Australian Open final.

“There's obviously a lot of uncertainty about whether Novak Djokovic will play," Medvedev said, calling it a "tough situation for everybody."
"Talking about myself, well, even if Novak is in the draw, I can only see him in the final," he said. "I need to win six matches before this. It would not change much my preparation for the tournament itself or for any match.”

When asked about Djokovic's visa situation, Medvedev said they are in Australia and should follow the country's rules.

"From what I know... if he has a valid exemption to be in this country and to do what he wants, then he should play," Medvedev said. "If the exemption is not valid or something else is not valid, well, any country can deny your entry."
12:22 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022

Van believed to be carrying Djokovic leaves his lawyers' offices

Novak Djokovic inside a vehicle as he arrives at the Park Hotel. 
Novak Djokovic inside a vehicle as he arrives at the Park Hotel.  (Nine News)

A white van believed to be carrying Novak Djokovic left his lawyers’ offices in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

The men's world No. 1 was detained by Australian border authorities on Saturday morning, in accordance with a court-ordered arrangement decided Friday after his visa was revoked for the second time by Australia's immigration minister, Alex Hawke.

Djokovic now will spend Saturday night in pre-immigration detention before facing a federal court hearing Sunday morning, Australia time, in a last ditch attempt to overturn the ruling.

In justifying his decision to cancel the tennis champion's visa, Hawke said Djokovic's ongoing presence in Australia could lead to an “increase in anti-vaccination sentiment” or even “civil unrest," court filings show.

The Australian government agreed not to deport Djokovic over the weekend before his case has concluded.

12:29 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022

"I think all this could have been avoided... by getting vaccinated," says tennis star Garbine Muguruza about Djokovic

Tennis player Garbine Muguruza.
Tennis player Garbine Muguruza. (Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Two-time grand slam champion and current women's world No. 3 Garbine Muguruza said the Novak Djokovic media frenzy could have been "avoided" if the men's world No. 1 had gotten vaccinated, like other tennis players entering Australia to play in the tournament.

“I think we all want to move on," Muguruza of Spain, told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.
“I think all this could have been avoided, like we've all done, by getting vaccinated, doing all the things we had to do to come here," she said, adding everyone knew the rules "very clearly."
"You just have to follow them and that's it. I don't think it's that difficult,” Muguruza said.

When asked if the Djokovic visa saga affects the average person’s opinion of international tennis players, Muguruza responded with a "yes."

“I don't think that this would help the tennis world or the players because at the end it's a little bit of conflict all the time," she said.
12:29 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022

Rafael Nadal: Australian Open will be great with or without Novak Djokovic

Tennis player Rafael Nadal.
Tennis player Rafael Nadal. (Simon Baker/AP)

Rafael Nadal told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday that no one player is more important than the Australian Open. That includes himself, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, he said.

"It's very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players," Nadal said, but added the Australian Open is "much more important than any player."

Nadal said the tournament would be great "with or without" Djokovic.

When asked about the situation surrounding Djokovic, and what it could mean for his legacy, Nadal said he didn't know.

"I wish him all the very best," Nadal said, adding he had a "good relationship" with Djokovic during his career.

He said he respected Djokovic as a "person and as an athlete" even if he did "not agree with a lot of things (Djokovic) did the last couple of weeks."

“I wish him all the best," Nadal said.

Nadal, seeded sixth, is on the same half of the draw as Djokovic in the Australian Open. But the two will not meet until the semifinals, if both players get that far.

Of Nadal's 20 major titles, just one is an Australian Open victory — which he won in 2009.

12:30 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022

Naomi Osaka on Djokovic situation: "It's kind of sad that some people might remember him in this way"

Tennis player Naomi Osaka.
Tennis player Naomi Osaka. (Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka was asked for her thoughts on the situation swirling around Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Melbourne, ahead of the tournament.

Osaka told reporters she didn't think her "thoughts are important," calling it an "unfortunate situation."

"He's such a great player, and it's kind of sad that some people might remember him in this way," Osaka said.

Read her full answer below:

“Yeah, honestly for me, in a way I don't really think my thoughts are important. Even if I say what I think, I've seen people say one side, I've seen people say the other side. I also know, like, one person's opinion isn't going to change anything, it's just going to cause my controversy.
“I think it's an unfortunate situation. Like, he's such a great player, and it's kind of sad that some people might remember him in this way. But I also think it's up to not tennis players, it's up to the government how Australia is deciding to handle it.
“Yeah, I know what it's like to kind of be in his situation in a place that you're getting asked about that person, to just see comments from other players, it's not the greatest thing. Just trying to keep it positive.”