Novak Djokovic put the Australian Open at risk and has made other participants "look like fools" by turning up for the tournament unvaccinated, according to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

World number one Djokovic was paired with Miomir Kecmanovic in Thursday's draw for the opening round, but it remains uncertain whether he will even take part in the first grand slam of the year.

The Serbian was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

Djokovic was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

He has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins next Monday, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time.

The 34-year-old is also being investigated for breaching isolation rules in December after testing positive for COVID-19.

And as a decision regarding whether he can stay in Australia and defend his title is dragged out, Tsitsipas has become the highest-profile tennis figure to criticise Djokovic for his conduct.

"He has been playing by his own rules," world number four Tsitsipas told Indian outlet WION.

"No one would have thought: 'I can come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols they gave me'.

"For Novak it worked another way. It takes a lot of daring to do. Putting a Grand Slam at risk – I don't think many players would do that."

Tsitsipas, who was defeated by Djokovic in last year's French Open final, added: "There are two ways to look at it.

"One way is that almost every single player has been vaccinated and did what they had to do in order to come and play in Australia.

"We have all followed the protocols to come and compete in Australia and been very disciplined in that.

"It seems like not everyone is playing by the rules of how Tennis Australia and some governments have been putting things.

"A very small minority chose to follow their own way. It makes the majority look like they are all fools."

Djokovic has spent the past four days training on court in preparation for the Australian Open, which he has won a record nine times, including in each of the last three years.

But weighing in on the debate on Thursday, Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the 20-time grand slam winner must "abide by the rules" if he is to remain in the country.

"You have to be frank – the vast majority of Australians said they didn't like the idea that another individual, whether they're a tennis player or the king of Spain or the queen of England, can come up here and have a different set of rules to what everybody else has to deal with," Joyce said.

"Let's see where it goes from here… I've made my views clear. I might not agree with the fact that I have to be tested to go from New South Wales into Queensland but I do [it’. Why? Because that is the law.

"He is no better. He is still a child of God like the rest of us, isn't he? So he has got to abide by the laws."

Novak Djokovic has been drawn against Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round of the Australian Open as the defending champion awaits to hear if he can stay in the country.

World number one Djokovic was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

The 20-time grand slam winner was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

Djokovic has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins next Monday, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time. 

A decision on whether Djokovic can compete in the first grand slam of the year, which he has won a record nine times, could be made on Thursday.

Should he be given the all clear to take part, Djokovic will face compatriot Kecmanovic in the first round at Melbourne Park.

Thursday's draw, which was delayed by one hour and 15 minutes for unspecified reasons, also saw fellow 20-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal paired with Marcos Giron.

Nadal is in the same half of the draw as Djokovic, meaning the pair could meet in the semi-finals, while third seed Alexander Zverev is also in the top half.

Second seed and 2021 finalist Daniil Medvedev is in the bottom half along with Stefanos Tsitsipas and will take on Henri Laaksonen first up.

In the women's draw, Australia's world number one Ash Barty will begin her quest for glory on home soil against a qualifier.

The top seed is on a collision course with defending champion Naomi Osaka, who goes face-to-face with Camila Osorio in round one on her return from a four-month break.

Reigning US Open winner Emma Raducanu is up against Sloane Stephens, who won the New York major in 2017, while Storm Sanders awaits second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Novak Djokovic has been labelled "selfish" by Joao Sousa for arriving at the Australian Open unvaccinated, but uncertainty still surrounds the Serbian's participation in the event. 

World number one Djokovic was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

The 20-time grand slam winner was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

Djokovic has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins on January 17, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time.

Should the 34-year-old be given the green light to compete at Melbourne Park, however, world number 140 Sousa says it will not sit right with others taking part.

"I respect that he fights for what he believes and I can be empathetic with what he is going through in Australia," Sousa is quoted as saying by Portuguese outlet Bola Amarela.

"But it's a bit selfish from him to arrive here as the only player unvaccinated. It's tough for us players to accept that."

Djokovic has been widely criticised for appearing on social media to mingle with the public in a series of appearances after returning a positive COVID-19 test on December 16.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Djokovic accepted he had made "an error of judgement" going ahead with an interview with French publication L'Equipe around that time.

Franck Ramella, the French journalist who conducted the 33-minute interview while Djokovic was COVID-19 positive, confirmed the tennis star wore a mask the whole time.

A decision on whether Djokovic can defend the title he has won a record nine times could be made on Thursday, when the draw for the main tournament is scheduled to take place.

Novak Djokovic has moved to "address the continued misinformation" about his attendance at events in December after he had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to his arrival in Australia.

The world number one, who won an appeal on Monday over his visa cancellation after being detained on arrival in Melbourne last week, wrote a six-panel post on Instagram on Wednesday amid ongoing discussion on his participation at the upcoming Australian Open due to commence on January 17.

Djokovic has come under fire for allegedly incorrectly filling out his Australian Travel Declaration form, with Immigration Minister Alex Hawked stating he would "thoroughly consider" the false declaration.

The 20-time major winner said in the post that this was a "human error" and that he had since provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify the matter.

The Serbian has also been criticised for appearing on social media to mingle with the public in a series of appearances after returning a positive test for COVID-19 on December 16.

Fellow Grand Slam winner Andy Murray had said on Tuesday that Djokovic needed to explain why he was out in public when positive with COVID-19, with Djokovic explaining his version of events.

"I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on 14 December after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with COVID-19," Djokovic wrote.

"Despite having no COVID symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on 16 December which was negative, and out of an abundance of caution, also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day.

"The next day I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, and it was negative. I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.

"The next day, on 18 December I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L'Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events except for the L'Equipe interview.

"I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L'Equipe interview as I didn't want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.

"While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment."

Djokovic said the false declaration, where it was written he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia, was a "human error" and "not deliberate".

"On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf - as I told immigration officials on my arrival - and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia," Djokovic said.

"This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur. Today, my team has provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter."

Novak Djokovic has moved to "address the continued misinformation" about his attendance at events in December after he had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to his arrival in Australia.

The world number one, who won an appeal on Monday over his visa cancellation after being detained on arrival in Melbourne last week, wrote a six-panel post on Instagram on Wednesday amid ongoing discussion on his participation at the upcoming Australian Open.

Djokovic has come under fire for allegedly incorrectly filling out his Australian Travel Declaration form, with Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawked stating he would "thoroughly consider" the false declaration.

The 20-time major winner said in the post that this was a "human error" and that he had since provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify the matter.

The Serbian has also been criticized for appearing on social media to mingle with the public in a series of appearances after returning a positive test for COVID-19 on December 16 but he moved to clarify that situation too.

Fellow Grand Slam winner Andy Murray had said on Tuesday that Djokovic needed to explain why he was out in public when positive with COVID-19.

"I attended a basketball game in Belgrade on 14 December after which it was reported that a number of people tested positive with COVID-19," Djokovic wrote.

"Despite having no COVID symptoms, I took a rapid antigen test on 16 December which was negative, and out of an abundance of caution, also took an official and approved PCR test on that same day.

"The next day I attended a tennis event in Belgrade to present awards to children and took a rapid antigen test before going to the event, and it was negative. I was asymptomatic and felt good, and I had not received the notification of a positive PCR test result until after that event.

"The next day, on 18 December I was at my tennis centre in Belgrade to fulfil a long-standing commitment for a L'Equipe interview and photoshoot. I cancelled all other events except for the L'Equipe interview.

"I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L'Equipe interview as I didn't want to let the journalist down, but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.

"While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment."

Djokovic said the false declaration, where it was written he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia, was a "human error" and "not deliberate".

"On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf - as I told immigration officials on my arrival - and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia," Djokovic said.

"This was a human error and certainly not deliberate. We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur. Today, my team has provided additional information to the Australian Government to clarify this matter."

Andy Murray says there are "questions that need to be answered" by Novak Djokovic before the world number one plays in the Australian Open.

Frustrated by the Djokovic saga becoming a distraction, Murray wants the world number one to tie up loose ends at the earliest opportunity, so the tennis world can move on.

There remain grey areas surrounding the Serbian's commitment to isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on December 16 last year.

A maskless Djokovic was pictured at a Belgrade tennis club's awards event on December 17, and L'Equipe has reported he took part in a photo shoot and interview for the French sports newspaper on the following day. It remains to be established whether Djokovic knew by that stage that he had returned a positive test.

The coronavirus infection allowed Djokovic to qualify for a medical exemption to play at Melbourne Park, and the 20-time grand slam winner confirmed on arrival in Australia that he is unvaccinated, before his visa was initially revoked.

It is not known what his plans would have been for the Australian Open had he not tested positive, as players are required by Tennis Australia to be either vaccinated or have a compelling case for an exemption.

Djokovic was released from a four-day detention in a Melbourne hotel following a court hearing on Monday, and long-time friend and rival Murray said: "It's positive that he's not in detention anymore. He won in court, so that's a positive thing for him, and hopefully we'll be able to concentrate on the tennis now.

"I think there is still a few questions that need to be answered around the isolation and stuff, which I'm sure we'll hear from him in the next few days, but I'm obviously here to try and play and win tournaments."

Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke could still cancel Djokovic's visa on new grounds, meaning his participation at the year's first grand slam, which begins next Monday, is not yet 100 per cent confirmed. The nine-time Australian Open champion will be seeking a record 21st men's grand slam singles title if cleared to play.

Murray, who won in the first round of the Sydney Classic on Tuesday, is conscious of the Djokovic saga dragging on.

It was clear the Briton believes an important step forward is for Djokovic to answer journalists' questions on the matter.

"It's the first match that I have played here, or won here, in over three years, and this is where the situations like this are frustrating for players," said Murray. "I want to come off and talk about my tennis and what's happening there, not talking about situations like that.

"So I'm hoping that we can move on from it now. He won in court, which is good. It looks like he's going to be able to play and compete in the Australian Open. We do want the best players there.

"But like I said, I think there is still a few questions to be answered. It's up to the press to ask about that and for Novak to clarify, so let's wait to see what he says."

Australia's Immigration Minister will "thoroughly consider" Novak Djokovic's visa status after fresh concerns were raised over his whereabouts in the two weeks prior to arriving in the country.

Djokovic is alleged to have falsely declared he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his flight to Melbourne in the Australian Travel Declaration form which is a "serious offence".

The world number one flew from Spain to Australia via Dubai but was seen on social media in the 14 days prior to his arrival in his native Serbia with handball player Petar Djordjic.

Djokovic, who trained at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, was released from detention on Monday after winning his appeal and having his visa reinstated.

However, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement on Tuesday that he will investigate the claims of Djokovic's false declaration.

“In line with due process, Minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter,” a representative said.

Mr Hawke has the power to cancel Djokovic's visa, which would force his deportation ahead of the Australian Open which is due to commence on January 17.

On Monday, Djokovic posted to Instagram: “I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen I remain focused on that.

“I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.”

The ATP has welcomed the outcome of the hearing that will allow Novak Djokovic to play at the Australian Open but reiterated that it continues to encourage its players to get vaccinated against coronavirus.

After days of uncertainty regarding the world number one's participation in Melbourne, it was ruled on Monday he should be immediately released from detention.

That came after authorities cancelled his visa last week, despite the Serbian receiving a medical exemption that allowed him to enter the country, regardless of his vaccination status. Given his application for the exemption, it is assumed Djokovic is unvaccinated.

The Australian Border Force declared Djokovic must fly out of the country on Thursday, sparking the challenge that went in the tennis star's favour on Monday.

However, Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke could still cancel Djokovic's visa on new grounds, meaning his participation at the year's first grand slam is not yet 100 per cent known.

With the saga seemingly drawing to a close, the ATP published a response to Monday's events.

Its statement read: "The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of COVID-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place. Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have however highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules.

"In travelling to Melbourne, it's clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations.

"The series of events leading to Monday's court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak's well-being and preparation for the Australian Open. Player medical exemption requests are made independently of the ATP, however, we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia to seek clarity throughout this process. We welcome the outcome of Monday's hearing and look forward to an exciting few weeks of tennis ahead.

"More broadly, the ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP Tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic. This is based on scientific evidence supporting the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations, which we anticipate will become stricter over time. We are encouraged that 97 per cent of the Top 100 players are vaccinated leading into this year's Australian Open."

Novak Djokovic is "pleased and grateful" after winning his court battle to stay in Australia and is focused on defending his title at the first grand slam of the year.

Following days of uncertainty regarding the world number one's participation at the Australian Open, it was ruled on Monday he should be immediately released from detention.

That came after authorities cancelled his visa last week, despite the Serbian being granted a medical exemption that allowed him to enter the country, regardless of his vaccination status.

The Australian Border Force declared Djokovic must fly out of the country on Thursday, sparking the challenge that went in the tennis star's favour on Monday.

However, Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke could still cancel Djokovic's visa on new grounds, meaning his Australian Open participation is not yet 100 per cent known.

But speaking about the saga for the first time on Monday, Djokovic said he remains hopeful of competing at Melbourne Park next week.

"I'm pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation," he posted on his personal Twitter account. 

"Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete at the Australian Open. I remain focused on that. 

"I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans."

In a follow-up tweet to his 8.9 million followers, Djokovic added: "For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong."

Twenty-time grand slam winner Djokovic posted the message at the same time that his family were holding a news conference in Belgrade, which he was expected to join via video link.

Djokovic's brother Djordje confirmed that the 34-year-old has already returned to the practice court ahead of the Australian Open, which he has won a record nine times.

After spending the weekend at a detention hotel in Melbourne as he attempted to defeat the deportation order, Djokovic's mother Dijana accused the local authorities of subjecting her son "to torture and harassment".

Dijana added: "This is his biggest win in his career – bigger than any grand slam."

Djokovic's father Srdjan praised the mental strength of his son and put Monday's verdict down as a victory for a wider cause.

"Over the past few days, it's been very, very difficult for everyone in the world who is free thinking. But he is mentally extremely, extremely strong," he said.

"They took away all his rights, as a human being. He refused to revoke his visa. They gave him no right to prepare his defence for several hours, and they took away his phone. 

"Fortunately they gave him back his phone. He contacted his legal team who mounted a fantastic defence, that they could not match.

"This is a huge win for Novak, his family and the free world. He respected everything that was asked of him. He only wanted to go there to play tennis.

"Justice and the rule of law have prevailed. The judge who presided over the case has shown that not for a second was Novak the guilty party. 

"The judge was fantastic, he simply respected the facts. He took the only decision that was possible which was to release Novak."

Rafael Nadal joked that he would rather Novak Djokovic does not play at the upcoming Australian Open after the world number one won his appeal to remain in the country.

Djokovic was left fighting for the right to compete at the opening grand slam of the year, a tournament he has won nine times, after authorities cancelled his visa last week.

A medical exemption was expected to allow the Serbian to enter the country, regardless of his vaccination status, which he has yet to formally disclose.

But the Australian Border Force declared Djokovic had been ordered to fly out of the country on Thursday, sparking a challenge to that decision by the tennis star's legal team.

After both sides had presented their cases, Djokovic was handed an Australian Open lifeline on Monday when defeating a deportation order brought by Australia's government

Judge Anthony Kelly ruled at Melbourne Circuit Court that Djokovic's visa cancellation order should be "quashed" immediately.

There may yet be another twist in the saga, though, as Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke could still cancel the 34-year-old's visa on new grounds.

Djokovic now appears far more likely to defend his Australian Open crown than he did over the weekend, however, as he goes in search of a 21st major title.

While that will inevitably make Nadal's chances of success at Melbourne Park a whole lot tougher, the Spaniard said the decision to grant Djokovic's freedom must be respected.

"Whether or not I agree with Djokovic on some things, justice has spoken and has said that he has the right to participate in the Australian Open," he told Onda Cero.

"I think it is the fairest decision to do so, if it has been resolved that way. I wish him the best of luck.

"But on a personal level, I'd much rather he didn't play!"

 

Nadal described Djokovic's COVID-19 vaccination controversy "a circus" and reiterated that the vaccine "is the way to stop this pandemic and disaster".

The 35-year-old ramped up his preparations for the Australian Open by winning last week's Melbourne Summer Set without dropping a single set.

That was Nadal's first tournament in five months due to injury and means he has won at least one ATP Tour trophy in every season since 2004 onwards.

He is level with Djokovic and fellow great Roger Federer on 20 grand slam titles, with the trio locked in a race to finish with the most majors.

Novak Djokovic has sensationally been handed an Australian Open lifeline by a Melbourne court.

The men's tennis world number one secured his freedom, defeating a deportation order brought by Australia's government.

The Serbian secured an injunction against immediate deportation on Thursday and spent the weekend at a detention hotel.

Ahead of the Australian Open, where he has won the men's singles title a record nine times, including last year, Djokovic arrived in the country with what he insisted were the correct documents.

Yet Australian Border Force officials cancelled his visa application, stating Djokovic had "failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia".

Lawyers for the 34-year-old stated he was granted a temporary activity visa on November 18.

The legal team said he was granted a medical exemption for the first grand slam of the year after a COVID-19 positive test on December 16, and was later given the go-ahead by Australia's Department of Home Affairs to travel.

However, lawyers for the government issued their own court filing on Sunday, disputing Djokovic's right to come to Australia.

"There is no suggestion that the applicant had 'acute major medical illness' in December 2021," said the government filing. "All he has said is that he tested positive for COVID-19. This is not the same."

The issue has become a political hot topic in Australia, with Djokovic's stance on COVID-19 matters rankling with many, particularly in the state of Victoria, who have faced hard lockdowns during the pandemic.

The case was listed as Novak Djokovic v Minister for Home Affairs. That is Karen Andrews; however, the matter has been one in which prime minister Scott Morrison has also become a central figure, insisting when Djokovic's visa was revoked: "Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules."

Djokovic has declined to confirm his vaccination status, but by requiring an exemption to compete at Melbourne Park it has been widely assumed he has not been jabbed. The government filing on Sunday stated it was "common ground that the applicant is unvaccinated".

His case was heard at Melbourne's Federal Circuit Court on Monday, with Judge Anthony Kelly ruling that the Serbian's visa cancellation order is "quashed" immediately.

This means Djokovic's visa is now valid and he can enter Australia ahead of the Australian Open getting underway in a week's time.

Tournament director Craig Tiley had said ahead of the hearing that he hoped Djokovic would be cleared to play and defend his title.

The drawn-out saga may not be entirely over just yet, however, as government lawyer Chris Tran indicated Australia's immigration minister – who has exceptional powers – may consider cancelling Djokovic's visa again.

Novak Djokovic has sensationally been handed an Australian Open lifeline by a Melbourne court.

Novak Djokovic faced a crunch day as his lawyers fought to win his freedom to play at the Australian Open – but the failure of a live court stream left the world in the dark about what was being disclosed.

Djokovic's case went before Melbourne's Federal Circuit Court on Monday, with the world number one attempting to defeat a deportation order brought by Australia's federal government.

Video footage of proceedings was promised by court officials, with huge global interest in the case, but at the scheduled hearing start time of 10am the website platform had crashed.

With the stream unavailable, the hearing was initially said by court officials to have been delayed, before word came through shortly after 10.30am in Melbourne that it had begun.

Serbian superstar Djokovic secured an injunction against immediate deportation on Thursday and spent the weekend at a detention hotel.

Ahead of the Australian Open, where he has won the men's singles title a record nine times, including last year, Djokovic arrived in the country with what he insisted were the correct documents.

Yet Australian Border Force officials cancelled his visa application, stating Djokovic had "failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia".

Lawyers for the 34-year-old have since stated the Serbian was granted a temporary activity visa on November 18. Djokovic's legal team said he was granted a medical exemption for the first grand slam of the year after a COVID-19 positive test on December 16, and that he was later given the go-ahead by Australia's Department of Home Affairs to travel.

However, lawyers for the federal government submitted their own court filing on Sunday, disputing Djokovic's right to come to Australia.

"There is no suggestion that the applicant had 'acute major medical illness' in December 2021," said the government filing. "All he has said is that he tested positive for COVID-19. This is not the same."

The government document also stated that, should the hearing ruling go in Djokovic's favour, it must be expressly stated that he could not be re-detained or have his visa cancelled once again. Otherwise, he could be denied entry to the country once more.

The issue has become a political hot topic in Australia, with Djokovic's stance on COVID-19 matters rankling with many, particularly in the state of Victoria, who have faced hard lockdowns during the pandemic.

The case was listed as Novak Djokovic v Minister for Home Affairs. That minister is Karen Andrews; however, the matter has been onee in which prime minister Scott Morrison has also become a central figure, insisting when Djokovic's visa was revoked: "Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules."

Djokovic has declined to confirm his vaccination status, but by requiring an exemption to compete at Melbourne Park it has been widely assumed he has not been jabbed. The government filing on Sunday stated it was "common ground that the applicant is unvaccinated".

Judge Anthony Kelly turned down a government request to delay the hearing by two days until Wednesday.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said ahead of the hearing that he hoped Djokovic would be cleared to play.

The Australian government has suggested it will block Novak Djokovic's entry into the country even if the world number one wins his appeal against their decision to cancel his visa.

Djokovic, who has not revealed his COVID-19 vaccination status, seemed set to compete in the Australian Open under a medical exemption.

Yet he is currently in an immigration detention hotel awaiting a hearing on Monday, after Australian border forces refused to allow him entry.

Court papers filed by Djokovic's representatives on Saturday stated that the 34-year-old had been given the medical exemption after testing positive for COVID-19 on December 16. 

The Serbian's lawyers also claimed they had an assessment from the Australian Department of Home Affairs which stated that his responses on his Traveller Declaration form met the requirements for quarantine-free travel into Australia.

Australia's government responded by filing court papers of its own on Sunday.

The 13-page document not only challenged the claim that Djokovic had COVID-19 last month, but also indicated the government would still refuse the nine-time Australian Open champion entry into the nation even if the hearing was decided in the player's favour.

The document claimed the government "had not represented to the applicant that his so-called 'medical exemption' would be accepted."

Australia's government also argued that: "There is no suggestion that the applicant had 'acute major medical illness' in December 2021. All he has said is that he tested positive for COVID-19.

"That is not the same. Thus the ATAGI Vaccination Advice uses different terms, such as mere "past infection" and also "symptomatic infection"."

The document goes on to conclude that, should the hearing be ruled in Djokovic's favour, it must be expressly stated that he could not be re-detained or have his visa cancelled once again.

"If this Court were to make orders in the applicant's [Djokovic] favour, it would then be for the respondent [Australian government] to administer the Act in accordance with law.

"That may involve the delegate deciding whether to make another cancellation decision, but there are also other powers in the Act, as the Court would be aware. Or, indeed, no power may be exercised.

"It is sufficient for the Court to quash the decision. From the time those orders are made, the respondent will act on the basis that the applicant's visa has not been cancelled.

"If the Court makes an additional orders for immediate release of the applicant, notwithstanding the above, the respondent submits that the Court should make it expressly clear that that order does not purport to (nor could it) prevent the respondent or any officer of the Commonwealth from exercising any power to detain that might be available to him or her despite the quashing of the delegate's cancellation decision.

"An order for immediate release does not prevent re-detention if there is power to detain."

Andy Murray believes Novak Djokovic's situation ahead of the Australian Open does not reflect well on anyone involved, nor the game of tennis in general.

Djokovic is currently in immigration detention at the Park Hotel in Melbourne.

The world number one, who has not revealed his COVID-19 vaccination status, received a medical exemption to feature in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17. He is the reigning champion and has won the tournament nine times.

All competitors at Melbourne Park must either be vaccinated or have a valid medical reason not to have had the vaccine. Australia, and Melbourne in particular, has had strict restrictions in place throughout the pandemic.

However, Djokovic's visa application was rejected by Australian border force officials. The Serbian star will now await the outcome of a hearing, set to take place on Monday, to determine whether he will be allowed to compete or be deported, with the Australian government losing an appeal to delay the hearing.

Murray, a five-time Australian Open finalist, cannot see how the situation looks good for anybody.

"I think everyone is shocked by it to be honest," former world number one Murray, who is preparing himself for the season's first grand slam, told reporters, as quoted by Australian publication The Age.

"I'm going to say two things on it just now. The first thing is that I hope that Novak is OK. I know him well, and I've always had a good relationship with him and I hope that he's OK.

"The second thing I'll say on it, is it's really not good for tennis at all, and I don't think it's good for anyone involved."

 

Four of Murray's five defeats in Australian Open finals came to Djokovic, who the Scot has not had contact with.

"[I need to] wait and hear exactly what the situation is before commenting on it further, because again I don't think it's fair because some of it is speculation," Murray said.

"Some stuff has come out that really doesn't look good, either. I want to hear all the facts first before giving all of my thoughts on it."

Djokovic's lawyers, in their appeal document sent to the court, disclosed that the 34-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 in December, and it was under these grounds that they sought a medical exemption.

Rafael Nadal said this week that Djokovic could have made life easier for himself by getting vaccinated, or disclosing his vaccine status, and Murray echoed those sentiments.

"It's not for [Nadal] to say what the right thing to do is, but to listen to the experts on those subjects, and I feel the same," Murray added.

"I can accept that young healthy athletes, if you contract coronavirus, are probably going to be OK. But I trust what I'm getting told by the scientists and the doctors.

"It's not about listening to what politicians or government are telling me to do, it's more listening to the doctors and the scientists, and the people that really know about that stuff."

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