#parent | #kids | Novak Djokovic updates: Tennis star back on court in Melbourne amid wait for visa decision

Novak Djokovic is back on court in Melbourne, training ahead of the Australian Open despite ongoing uncertainty over whether he can remain in the country.

Follow today’s events as they happen. 

Live updates

By Liam Butterworth

Transcription company takes ‘appropriate action’ against person who leaked footage of Channel 7 hosts talking about Djokovic situation

Ai-Media technologies, which handles live and recorded captioning, transcription and translating services, says it has finished its investigation into the leak of Channel 7 hosts Mike Amor and Rebecca Maddern speaking about Novak Djokovic before a live broadcast.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), Ai-Media says an employee working remotely “was responsible for the unauthorised distribution of content”.

“Appropriate action has been taken with regard to the employee responsible,” the company says.

In the statement, Ai-Media chief executive Tony Abrahams said: “We are Australia’s leading provider of captioning services and we understand the importance of our work in making media accessible and inclusive to a wider audience, while safeguarding the confidential information of our customers.”

“This is the first such incident in Ai-Media’s 19-year history, and enhanced controls have since been implemented to ensure it cannot be repeated.”

By Jessica Riga

‘This is an absolute shambles’: Lambie weighs in

(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

Senator Jacqui Lambie has weighed in on the situation, saying it’s “time to stop this debacle.” 

“Why does this keep dripping out of the tap? Why hasn’t the Minister done anything about this?” Ms Lambie told Channel 9 earlier.

“If he’s going to do him on character, because they believe that his submission has been lied in, then, you know, this is what we do when our kids play up at school. They get sent home.

“So maybe it’s about time to stop this debacle, finish it once and for all, without the tap keep dripping, and make up your mind, Alex Hawke on what you’re doing! And where are you? You’re missing in action, mate! Make a decision!

“If you can’t make a decision on Novak Djokovic, goodness me, how are you guys running the country? This is an absolute shambles! Let alone what it’s making us look like in the face of the rest of the world. It’s absolutely a shocker.”

By Jessica Riga

‘It should never have come to this’: Albanese slams Morrison government’s handling of Djokovic visa saga

(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has slammed the Morrison government’s handling of the Novak Djokovic’s visa. 

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Mr Albanese said key questions still haven’t been answered. 

“It should never have come to this,” Mr Albanese says.

“There are so many areas whereby the Morrison Government’s character shows out, that it always responds too little and too late, that it never actually envisages a problem that’s coming down the track, doesn’t act until a problem becomes a crisis.

“Novak Djokovic and his participation in the Australian Open has been the number one sports story in the world for months. Everyone knows he’s the number one player in the world. He’s won the Australian Open nine times, shooting for 10, shooting for his 21st Grand Slam to be the greatest champion of all time.

“But what we have from a Government is day after day after day not making a decision where it is now almost 60 days since his visa was granted. They have never answered the question of how is it that that visa was granted in the first place if he wasn’t eligible because he wasn’t fully vaccinated.”

By Jessica Riga

Key dates in the Djokovic saga

  • On November 18, Djokovic is granted a temporary activity (subclass 408) visa. Temporary activity visas enable people to work in Australia on a short-term basis, and subclass 408 covers sporting activities.
  • On November 29, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt writes to Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley, saying players wishing to enter Australia quarantine-free must be fully vaccinated and cannot count a previous infection as a reason for exemption.
  • On December 16, Djokovic undertakes both PCR and rapid antigen COVID tests, according to a statement put out by the tennis star.
  • On December 17, Djokovic participates in events having not yet received a positive COVID test result.
  • On December 18, Djokovic takes part in a media interview despite having received a positive result on the PCR test.
  • On December 30, Djokovic receives a letter from the Chief Medical Officer of Tennis Australia stating he has been granted a “medical exemption from COVID vaccination” on the grounds that he had recently recovered from COVID-19.
  • On January 1, Djokovic receives an automated online confirmation via the Australian Travel Declaration website/app that he met the requirements for a “quarantine-free arrival into Australia where permitted by the jurisdiction of your arrival”.
  • Just before midnight on January 5, Djokovic arrives in Melbourne on a flight from Dubai and is detained at the airport.
  • In the early hours of January 6, Djokovic is interviewed by Border Force officials before his visa is cancelled and he is transferred to a Melbourne immigration detention hotel.
  • Later that day, his lawyers file a challenge against the cancellation of his visa. An injunction is granted to allow Djokovic to remain in the country until January 10, the same day a hearing is scheduled in the Federal Circuit Court.
  • On January 10, the court finds Djokovic’s visa was unreasonably cancelled and orders his release from detention. After his release, the tennis star publicly states his intention to stay in the country and compete at the Australian Open.
  • On January 13, the Australian Open draw takes place and a match between Djokovic and compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic is scheduled for the first round of the tournament.

By Jessica Riga

Looking for a quick recap? 

The federal government says it still hasn’t reached a decision on whether to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa — for a second time — over his vaccination status. Amy Bainbridge gets you up to speed here. 

By Jessica Riga

Melbourne businesses say Djokovic visa saga is harming city’s reputation

An influential group representing Melbourne businesses says Novak Djokovic’s visa saga is harming the city’s reputation as Australia’s events capital.

The Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has yet to make a decision over whether the tennis champion can remain in the country, with less than three days until the Australian Open begins.

The world number one admitted this week to making a false travel declaration on his immigration form and breaching COVID-19 isolation rules.

Committee for Melbourne chief executive Martine Letts says she understands people’s concerns, but says the Australian public’s reaction has been vindictive.

“What we really want to be celebrating is the Australian Open, a great tennis match,” Ms Letts says.

“Clearly people have to obey the rules, but it’s important that we still maintain a very open and welcoming face, rather than focusing just on the negative aspects of the Djokovic angle to this problem.”

By Alexis Moran

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Simon Birmingham weighs in on Novak Djokovic’s visa situation.

By Alexis Moran

Australia has ‘clear border protection policies in place’, says Simon Birmingham

Finance minister Simon Birmingham today said unvaccinated non-citizens without an acceptable medical exemption were not eligible to enter the country.

Responding to a question on what the government’s handling of Djokovic’s case said to the world, Mr Birmingham asserted Australia has “clear border protection policies in place.”

“If you are not an Australian citizen then there is an expectation that you will be double-dose vaccinated to enter the country, unless you have a clear and acceptable medical exemption,” he said.

Reporting with AP

By Alexis Moran

Spain is not investigating Djokovic

Spanish authorities have told the ABC they are not investigating Novak Djokovic’s recent visit to Spain, as was being reported by a number of media outlets.

It’s been revealed Djokovic wrongly declared his travel history on documents before entering Australia.

The Serbian had been in both Belgrade and Spain in the two weeks prior to his arrival in Melbourne, but did not declare that he had travelled abroad.

By Alexis Moran

Stefanos Tsitsipas the latest tennis star to criticise Novak Djokovic ahead of Australian Open

AAP: Lukas Coch

World number four  Stefanos Tsitsipas says the majority of tennis players have been made to look foolish by Novak Djokovic.

Tsitsipas had himself been hesitant around taking the vaccine last year but took the jab like 97 of the top 100 men’s players in the world.

He says the potential for the unvaccinated Djokovic to play in Australia undermines the protocols.

“A very small majority of that percentage chose to follow their own way, and it kind of makes the rest — sorry the majority — look like, they’re all fools or something.”

Read more here. 

By Alexis Moran

What do Melbournians think of the whole saga? 

These Melbourne residents were asked to give their thoughts.

“I think the federal and state government could’ve coordinated a bit better. So it’s been dragging on for a few days and a lot of us are starting to get tired of the story,” Jean Paul Duvivier told Reuters.

“I just think it’s really unfair that people that are considered sports people get treated differently to everyone else. I work with aged care providers every day, who’ve had a really hard time with COVID and it’s just like a slap in the face,” said Megan Leddin.

“Don’t think it’s that hard of a decision and I think it’s just a distraction again about what’s going on as well. We don’t have access to rapid antigen tests, coronavirus is sort of going crazy across Australia and the government is pondering whether or not to let this tennis player into the country. It’s a bit of a waste of time in my opinion,” said Jordan Anderson.

Reporting with Reuters

By Alexis Moran

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Djokovic at a practice session today at Melbourne Park.

By Alexis Moran

Djokovic has been out practising today

AAP: Diego Fedele

By Alexis Moran


Thanks for joining as we bring you updates on Novak Djokovic’s visa situation.

We know Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has been considering using his ministerial powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa for several days, but has not yet announced a decision.

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