Nadal: Australian Open will be great with or without Djokovic

1 min ago

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Djokovic was detained by Australian border authorities, per a court-ordered arrangement decided Friday, after his visa was revoked for the second time by Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke.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

17 min ago

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. (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.”

1 hr 59 min ago

Van believed to be carrying Djokovic leaves his lawyers’ offices

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.

1 hr 52 min ago

“I think all this could have been avoided… by getting vaccinated,” says tennis star Garbine Muguruza about Djokovic

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.

1 hr 51 min ago

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

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.

1 hr 50 min ago

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

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.”

2 hr ago

Djokovic’s presence in Australia may lead to “civil unrest” and an “increase in anti-vaccination sentiment,” immigration minister says

From CNN’s Philip Wang in Atlanta

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday said that Novak Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to “increase in anti-vaccination sentiment” or even “civil unrest” as part of the reason of canceling his visa, court filings show. 

In a 10-page decision memorandum seen by CNN, Hawke said Djokovic’s refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19 may not only “pose a health risk to the Australian community,” but may also disrupt the “good order” of the society.  

“In particular, his behaviour may encourage or influence others to emulate his prior conduct and fail to comply with appropriate public health measures following a positive Covid-19 test result, which itself could lead to the transmission of the disease and serious risk to their health and others, ” Hawke argued. 

Hawke went on to say that Djokovic’s continuing presence may lead to increases in rallies and protests, which may themselves be a source of community transmission. 

“I also acknowledge that Mr. Djokovic is now in the community, and that some unrest has already occurred, such that it is too late to avoid it. This weighs in my mind against the public interest in cancellation,” Hawke said. 

Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked men’s tennis player, has had his visa revoked twice by immigration officials because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.

He is being detained by Australian immigration officials ahead of a decisive court hearing Sunday, where detailed arguments will be presented on whether the tennis star should be deported. 

2 hr ago

Appeal hearing to decide if Djokovic should be deported is expected Sunday

From CNN’s Hannah Ritchie

Novak Djokovic is being detained by Australian immigration officials ahead of a decisive court hearing Sunday where detailed arguments will be presented on whether the tennis star should be deported. 

Judge Anthony Kelly who presided over the hearing, said the government had agreed not to deport Djokovic before the case has concluded. 

Kelly also said Djokovic will be allowed to visit his lawyers’ offices Saturday to prepare for his Sunday hearing, before eventually being moved back into pre-immigration detention, as required under Australian law. 

An initial hearing took place in Australia’s Federal Court at 10:15 a.m. Saturday local time (6.15 p.m. ET Friday), where it was overseen by Justice David O’Callaghan.

In a late-night court hearing Friday, Djokovic’s barrister Nick Wood requested that written submissions from both sides in the case be submitted to the courts by end of day Saturday.

What could happen next: Once those submissions are made, a more detailed appeal hearing is expected on Sunday. 

If the appeal is successful, that timetable in court would allow Djokovic to play in the Australian Open on Monday. 

Djokovic remains listed in the tournament draw and is due to face Miomir Kecmanovic.