Novak Djokovic detained as he awaits visa hearing

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Adrienne Vogt, Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:36 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022
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2:08 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

BREAKING: Djokovic's visa has been revoked again

Novak Djokovic's Australian visa has been revoked for a second time, all but ending the ambitions of the world's No.1 men's tennis player to contest the Australian Open and win a record 21st grand slam.

It is unclear whether Australia will move to deport the Serbian star as the decision can still be challenged by his legal team.

2:10 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Key things to know about the Djokovic visa row

Though Novak Djokovic's visa was reinstated on Monday and he was released from detention, Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke could still revoke his visa again and begin deportation proceedings.

As he awaits a decision on whether he can remain in Australia, Djokovic on Thursday was drawn against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the Australian Open.

Why Djokovic was detained: All international arrivals to Australia are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 — which Djokovic is not — unless they have a medical exemption. The government argued he didn't have a valid exemption to the requirement.

Djokovic said he was under the impression he could enter because tournament organizers had granted him a medical exemption on the grounds he had been infected with Covid-19 in December, his visa had been approved ahead of arrival, and he had been cleared for quarantine-free travel.

Why the judge ruled in his favor: The government hadn't given Djokovic enough advance notice about the cancellation of his visa or time to prepare materials in his defense, the judge said. After his arrival, Djokovic was told he would have a few hours to prepare — but the government decided to cancel his visa before the deadline they had given.

When: Djokovic tested positive in mid-December and recovered enough to receive a medical exemption from Tennis Australia on Dec. 30, according to court documents. He arrived in Australia on Jan. 5 and was promptly placed in detention. He was released on Monday, Jan. 10. The tournament runs from Jan. 17-30.

What happens now?: Australia's immigration minister could still revoke Djokovic's visa again and begin deportation proceedings. But it is unclear when such a decision could come. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison batted away a question from a reporter about Novak Djokovic's visa status at a news conference in Canberra on Thursday.

Morrison was asked why a decision hadn't been made yet on whether the Australian government would revoke Djokovic's reinstated visa.

"I refer to Mr. Hawke's most recent statement and that position hasn't changed," he said, referring to the immigration minister, who could still decide to deport Djokovic. "These are personal ministerial powers able to be administered by Minister Hawke, and I don't propose to make any further comment at this time." 
1:53 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Novak Djokovic drawn against Miomir Kecmanovic at Australian Open

It’s over 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) from Belgrade to Melbourne. Novak Djokovic’s journey to the Australian Open has been certainly quite something.

And in Thursday’s draw for the Australian Open, he discovered he will be up against fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic.

Djokovic, looking to win his 10th Australian Open title in Melbourne this month, is waiting for Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke to decide whether to revoke his reinstated visa ahead of the tournament.

But what about the tournament's other players?

  • Rafael Nadal, who is tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer on 20 grand slam singles titles, is seeded sixth and scheduled to face American Marcos Giron in the first round.
  • No. 2 seed Daniiel Medvedev, last year's US Open champion, faces Henri Laaksonen in the first round, while No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev faces fellow German Daniel Altmaier.
  • In the women's singles draw, there is a potential fourth-round matchup between world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Naomi Osaka.
  • Osaka, seeded 13th, will begin her title defense against Camila Osorio, while Barty's first-round opponent will be a qualifier.
  • Other grand slam champions in this year's draw include Iga Swiatek, Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep. Emma Raducanu and Sloane Stephens, US Open winners from 2021 and 2017 respectively, have been drawn against each other in the first round.

Read the full story:

9:46 p.m. ET, January 13, 2022

A timeline of Novak Djokovic's Australia visa saga

Novak Djokovic's Australian Open participation has provided a tumultuous backdrop to the tournament. The Serbian world No. 1 was detained in Australia last week over a visa and vaccination dispute, and on Tuesday released a lengthy statement addressing his movements in December 2020.

Here is a timeline of some key events:

Jan. 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, according to the affidavit.

Jan. 2

  • According to his affidavit, Djokovic receives a Border Travel Permit by the state government of Victoria, where Australian Open host city Melbourne is located.

Jan. 5

  • Having left Spain the day before, Djokovic arrives in Melbourne close to midnight. His passport is taken and he is escorted to a small room where he is interviewed by border control officers, according to the affidavit.

Jan. 6

  • Djokovic's visa is canceled by the Australian government and he is taken to a temporary detention facility at the Park Hotel in Melbourne, according to the affidavit.
  • In a news conference, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirms and reads out the letter sent on Nov. 29 from Health Minister Greg Hunt to Tennis Australia stating that a Covid-19 infection alone in the past six months does not meet the requirements for quarantine-free entry.

Jan. 10

  • At a hearing, a judge quashes the cancellation of Djokovic's visa and orders his release from detention. But the judge says Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke reserves the right to deport Djokovic.

Jan. 11

  • The Australian Border Force (ABF) is investigating whether Djokovic submitted a false travel declaration ahead of arrival in Australia.

Jan. 12

  • Djokovic says his team has provided additional information to the Australian government to clarify the issue of his travel declaration.
  • However, Australian Border Force (ABF) officials are investigating possible inconsistencies in documents related to Djokovic's December PCR result as well as the tennis player's movements in the days after he tested positive for Covid-19 in Serbia, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.