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Timeline: Novak Djokovic’s bid to compete at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic’s bid to get round guidelines requiring gamers on the Australian Open to be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 continues to be in limbo.

Two panels authorized his request for a medical exemption as a way to enter Victoria state, the place the yr’s first Grand Slam tennis event is held, primarily based on having examined constructive previously six months for the sickness brought on by the novel coronavirus.

Djokovic’s visa was canceled by border officers when he arrived in Australia, earlier than a decide overturned that and mentioned the 34-year-old from Serbia might keep. As of Wednesday, Djokovic’s case was within the arms of Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who has the facility to reject the visa and make the top-ranked participant go away the nation.

Djokovic is a nine-time champion on the Australian Open, together with every of the previous three years. He owns 20 Grand Slam singles titles in all, tying him with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for probably the most gained by a person in tennis historical past.

Here’s a have a look at the timeline of occasions involving Djokovic’s journey to Australia, from a remark about COVID-19 vaccinations practically two years in the past to his makes an attempt Wednesday to make clear some components of the case in his first intensive feedback about it:

April 2020: Because the coronavirus pandemic rages, Djokovic points an announcement, saying, “Personally I’m against the vaccination in opposition to COVID-19 so as to have the ability to journey. But when it turns into obligatory, I must decide whether or not to do it, or not.”

June 2020: With the skilled tennis excursions on hiatus due to the pandemic, Djokovic organizes a collection of exhibition matches in Serbia and Croatia with no guidelines requiring social distancing or masking. The Adria Tour known as off after some gamers get COVID-19; Djokovic and his spouse, Jelena, check constructive.

Nov. 19, 2021: Confirming an edict made by the Victorian state authorities in late October, event director Craig Tiley says everybody on the 2022 Australian Open should be vaccinated for COVID-19. Djokovic’s vaccine standing is unknown on the time.

Dec. 8, 2021: Victoria state Deputy Premier James Merlino says medical exemptions for the vaccine coverage wouldn’t be “a loophole for privileged tennis gamers” and would solely be attainable in “distinctive circumstances, when you’ve got an acute medical situation.”

Dec. 14, 2021: Djokovic attends knowledgeable basketball sport in Belgrade and is photographed hugging a number of gamers from each groups, together with some who later examined constructive.

Dec. 16, 2021: Djokovic checks constructive for COVID-19 in Serbia, though that isn’t public data till revealed by courtroom paperwork in January. He later says he didn’t know the consequence till Dec. 17.

Dec. 17, 2021: Djokovic attends an occasion in Belgrade honoring youth tennis gamers. Mother and father publish images on social media exhibiting Djokovic and the younger gamers with out masks. Djokovic later says he was asymptomatic, took an antigen check earlier than the occasion that confirmed he was unfavorable, and solely obtained the constructive PCR consequence after the occasion.

Dec. 18, 2021: Realizing he examined constructive, Djokovic does an interview and photograph shoot with the French newspaper L’Equipe. He acknowledges weeks later: “On reflection, this was an error of judgement.”

Dec. 22, 2021: In keeping with courtroom paperwork, Djokovic checks unfavorable for COVID-19 in Serbia.

Dec. 29, 2021: Djokovic withdraws from Serbia’s workforce for the ATP Cup, days earlier than the competitors is because of start in Sydney. No motive is given.

Jan. 1, 2022: Tiley is requested in a TV interview about Djokovic’s standing for the Australian Open and responds: “There’s fairly a bit to play out and I feel it should play out within the coming days.”

Jan. 4, 2022: Djokovic posts on Instagram a photograph of himself at an airport with a caption that reads, partly: “I’m heading Down Beneath with an exemption permission.”

Tennis Australia follows with an announcement confirming Djokovic is on his approach to the nation with a medical exemption “granted following a rigorous evaluation course of involving two separate impartial panels of medical consultants.”
Neither Djokovic nor Tennis Australia reveals the premise for his exemption. Tiley says a “handful” of exemptions had been granted out of 26 functions from gamers or others. A public outcry bubbles up on social media amongst Australians whereas Djokovic’s flight to Melbourne is within the air.

Jan. 5, 2022: Djokovic arrives at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.

Jan. 6, 2022: After being detained for about eight hours upon arrival, Djokovic is denied entry to the nation and his visa is canceled. He’s despatched to an immigration resort, the place he stays for 4 nights.

The Australian Border Drive says Djokovic failed to satisfy entry necessities. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweets: “Guidelines are guidelines, particularly in the case of our borders.”

Jan. 10, 2022: As a part of his authorized try and overturn the visa cancellation, Djokovic submits an affidavit that claims he’s not vaccinated for COVID-19.

Federal Circuit Court docket Decide Anthony Kelly reinstates Djokovic’s visa, ruling the participant was not given sufficient time to talk to his legal professionals earlier than the choice to disclaim him entry was made on the airport. Kelly orders the federal government to launch Djokovic from immigration detention. Hours later, Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park.

Jan. 11, 2022: Together with his standing nonetheless unsure, Djokovic is put in because the No. 1 seed for the boys’s subject on the Australian Open. The event strictly follows the present rankings in figuring out seedings and Djokovic is ranked No. 1; he has spent extra weeks atop the ATP than some other man within the historical past of the boys’s skilled tour’s computerized rankings.

Jan. 12, 2022: Djokovic’s most intensive public feedback on the matter come by way of a publish on social media that’s put up by somebody whereas he’s working towards on the Australian Open’s essential stadium.

He acknowledges a mistake on his journey declaration for Australia, which didn’t point out that he had been in a number of international locations over the prior two weeks.

Djokovic blames his agent for checking the improper field on the shape, calling it “a human error and positively not deliberate.” He additionally clarifies the timing of his constructive COVID-19 check from December and subsequent whereabouts.

Jan. 13, 2022: The Australian Open draw is scheduled to be held, figuring out the boys’s and ladies’s singles brackets for the event.

Jan. 17, 2022: Play is scheduled to start at Melbourne Park.

The lads’s singles closing is Jan. 30.


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