Live: Novak Djokovic visa ‘tragedy’ embarrasses Melbourne

More news has emerged about Novak Djokovic’s situation as everyone waits to see whether he’ll be kicked out of the country.

The world is still waiting to see whether Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will kick Novak Djokovic out of Australia as his visa saga rolls on.

Many were expecting a decision to be made on Thursday but that never arrived, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to be drawn on the matter.

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“I will refer to Minister Hawke’s most recent statement in that position hasn’t changed,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Thursday.

“These are personal ministerial powers able to be exercised by Minister Hawke.

“I don’t propose to make any further comment at this time.”

‘A tragedy’: Djokovic affair embarrasses Melbourne

The Committee for Melbourne, an organisation that represents and advocates for the city’s arts and business sectors, has hit out over the Djokovic affair and its impact on the Victorian capital.

The Committee called the situation “embarrassing” and a “debacle” as chief executive Martine Letts pointed the finger at all parties involved for their mishandling of his visa mess. Speaking to The Age, Ms Letts said the saga reflected poorly on Melbourne.

“The Djokovic visa and vaccination saga has reflected poorly on all those involved, which is a tragedy considering the excellence of our infrastructure and tournament planning,” Ms Letts said.

“No matter who is right or wrong, (the saga) has shown a vindictive and intolerant face of Australia which we can ill afford as we seek to open up again to the world.

“As Australia’s global events and sporting capital, we really want to be seen as competent and welcoming as we emerge from being one of the world’s most locked-down jurisdictions in 2020 and 2021.

“We cannot let the Australian Open debacle set the tone for the rest of this and future years and leave the door wide open for others to step in and take our (major events) crown, which they will take every opportunity to do.”

Cold water poured on Novak rumour

Spanish authorities have rejected a rumour they are investigating Djokovic over his recent travel into the country.

Reports emerged on Thursday the 20-time major winner was being investigated after he recently travelled from Serbia to Spain, where he practised ahead of the Australian Open.

Tennis reporter Gaspar Ribeiro Lanca tweeted on Thursday: “Breaking news: COPE reports that the Spanish Government is now investigating whether unvaccinated Novak Djokovic entered the country illegally in late December. Since September 20, citizens from Serbia need a vaccine certificate OR a special exemption to enter Spanish territory but so far the authorities say they did not receive any request from Djokovic.”

However, cold water has been poured on suggestions Djokovic is under the microscope in Spain. “The news is false. Neither the government has ordered it nor is there any police investigation open on the athlete,” a spokesperson for Spain’s interior ministry told Politico.

Blame game erupts as Djoker’s plan revealed

Djokovic will reportedly challenge any decision to deport him in court, should Minster Hawke decide to boot the world No. 1 out.

The Age reports a member of Djokovic’s camp said legal action will immediately be launched if he is told to leave the country, even after having his visa cancellation overturned in court on Monday.

According to the report, Team Djokovic is hopeful any legal challenge would be resolved by Sunday, allowing the Serbian to continue in the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, if he is successful.

Meanwhile, the Herald Sun reports government sources are blaming Djokovic and his camp for using delaying tactics to draw the saga out.

Visa saga rolls on

Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, received a medical exemption to compete in the year’s first grand slam but when he touched down in Melbourne last week, was told by the Australian Border Force he had insufficient evidence to prove his exemption was justified.

The nine-time Australian Open champion was kept in a Melbourne hotel until the end of Monday’s hearing, when he was released from detention.

Djokovic’s exemption was based on his and Tennis Australia’s belief that having contracted Covid-19 in the past six months was a valid reason to not be vaccinated.

Djokovic’s family thanked fans for their support and defended his right to be in Australia. Speaking to Sunrise earlier this week, his mum Dijana said: “Novak is 34-35, even me as a mother I don’t have any choice to make pressure on him.

“He has his own philosophy of his life. If he thinks like that, I can just say OK.

“I know that Novak is the most healthiest guy in the world, like a sportsman. He takes care of his life and his body so much that nobody can even imagine how. He’s so dedicated to this sport and dedicated to what he’s doing. He’s playing tennis and he wants to stay on the court and I know he is doing everything to take care of his body to stay healthy.

“I don’t know what is the problem if he doesn’t want to get vaccinated. That’s his choice and each person in this world has the opportunity to make a choice. This is like human rights. You cannot pursue him or pressure him to do this.”

Originally published as Live: Novak Djokovic visa ‘tragedy’ embarrasses Melbourne

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