Novak Djokovic detained as he awaits visa hearing

By Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Adrienne Vogt, Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 12:36 a.m. ET, January 15, 2022
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3:24 p.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Novak Djokovic's visa saga to be documented in upcoming Netflix docuseries

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Netflix announced on Friday that it has partnered with the four tennis grand slam tournaments as well as the men’s and women’s tennis tours to produce a documentary series depicting a year in the life of professional tennis players. A Netflix spokesperson tells CNN the series has been filming in Australia leading up to the Australian Open, and upon its release, the series will cover Novak Djokovic’s visa issue.

Netflix says the series will provide an “unfiltered look at life inside the competitive sport of professional tennis through the perspective of the players and their teams.”

“Tennis is beloved all over the world, with high-stakes tournaments hopping across continents and athletes hailing from countless countries,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix vice president of unscripted and documentary series. “Through this historic partnership with the four Grand Slam tournaments, the ATP Tour, WTA Tour, and ATP Media, the series will be packed with rare access and rich personal stories that are sure to draw in longtime fans and new audiences alike.”

A news release from Netflix did not provide a premiere date for the still untitled docuseries. It is being produced by Box to Box Films.

CNN’s David Close contributed to this report

2:10 p.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Serbian president says country will fight for Djokovic as his visa saga continues

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić is seen during a press conference in Belgrade, Sebria, in October 2020.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić is seen during a press conference in Belgrade, Sebria, in October 2020. (Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić posted a video on his official Instagram Friday calling out Australia for the way officials are handling "the world's best Serbian tennis player."

He added that Serbia will "fight for Djokovic" and he will "remain the best tennis player of all time."

Vučić said he is upset with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for welcoming the Australian immigration minister's decision to revoke Novak Djokovic's visa.

"Why do you mistreat him and make fun of him, not only him, but also with his family and an entire nation that is free and proud? Do you need it to win some elections? Do you need it to please your public? Here is a president from a small country who can say that to a prime minister of a large country. And do you know why I can? Because I'm telling the truth and because you know I'm telling you the truth," Vučić said.

Where things stand: The tennis star is being placed back in detention by Australian authorities on Saturday after his visa was revoked for a second time.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke announced the decision to revoke the tennis star's visa in a statement on Friday after days of deliberation about whether to eject the 34-year-old Serbian from Australia.

CNN's Tihana Bajić contributed to this post.

11:39 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Appeal hearing to decide Djokovic's Australian Open fate expected Sunday

From Hannah Ritchie in Melbourne

Serbian Novak Djokovic pictured at a training session ahead of the Australian Open tennis Grand Slam on Wednesday 12 January in Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia.
Serbian Novak Djokovic pictured at a training session ahead of the Australian Open tennis Grand Slam on Wednesday 12 January in Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Shutterstock)

Novak Djokovic will be detained by Australian immigration officials Saturday, 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 in the case has been scheduled to take place in Australia’s Federal Court at 10:15 a.m. Saturday local time (6.15 p.m. ET Friday) and will be 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.

9:49 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Djokovic will be detained Saturday ahead of court hearing

From Hannah Ritchie in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic of Serbia rests during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia on 14 January.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia rests during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia on 14 January. (Diego Fedele/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Tennis star Novak Djokovic will be detained again by Australian authorities Saturday before his case to stay in country is heard before the Federal Court. 

The decision was made during an emergency hearing before Judge Anthony Kelly in the Federal Circuit and Family Court on Friday, following Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time.

The tennis star will be interviewed by the Australian Border Force at 8 a.m. Saturday local time (4 p.m. ET Friday) at an undisclosed location “agreed between the parties” in the case.

At that point, Djokovic will be officially detained by two border force officials and escorted to his lawyers’ office while his case is heard in the Federal court. 

The location where Djokovic will be met by border officials will remain secret in order to keep the tennis star safe and prevent “a media circus.”

“We have a genuine concern about security and a potential media circus,” Djokovic’s barrister Nick Wood told the court when imploring Judge Kelly to allow Djokovic to be handed over to border officials in private. 

Novak Djokovic v Minister for Immigration, as the case file is known, was officially transferred from the Federal Circuit Court to the Federal Court of Australia late Friday night local time.

Justice David O’Callaghan will now oversee the case, with an initial hearing scheduled at 10:15 a.m. Saturday local time (6:15 p.m. ET Friday). 

Wood told the court that the Immigration Minister had used his personal power to cancel the 34-year-old’s visa based on grounds he would “excite anti-vax sentiment” should he remain in Australia, describing it as a “radically different approach” in the government’s argument. 

“The underlying new rationale is not a direct risk to others, it’s that Mr Djokovic being in Australia, in Melbourne in particular, by being here will excite anti-vax sentiment. That’s the point. A radically different approach,” Wood said. 

8:41 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Novak Djokovic's opening Australian Open match scheduled for Monday

Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic gestures during the men's singles quarter-final tennis match between Serbia and Kazakhstan of the Davis Cup tennis tournament at the Madrid arena in Madrid, Spain, on December 1.
Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic gestures during the men's singles quarter-final tennis match between Serbia and Kazakhstan of the Davis Cup tennis tournament at the Madrid arena in Madrid, Spain, on December 1. (Oscar del Pozo/AFP/Getty Images)

The Australian Open has confirmed that players in the top half of both the men's and women's singles draw will play their opening round matches on Monday.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is in that top half of the draw and is scheduled to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday — depending of course on how the legal arguments pan out over the cancellation of 34-year-old Serbian's visa.

8:38 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Novak Djokovic's visa saga divides opinion

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting, at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, January 13.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting, at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, January 13. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image/Reuters)

The decision to revoke Novak Djokovic's visa for a second time has been prompted plenty of reaction.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the decision by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke serves to protect Australia during the pandemic.

While many have either blamed Djokovic or the Australian Government during the case, tennis analyst Darren Cahill, who has coached some of the world's leading players -- past and present -- says "fault lies everywhere here."

"It's been a mess," he tweeted. "Novak, TA [Tennis Australia], Vic Gov [Victoria Government], Federal Gov."

Kevin Rudd, the former Prime Minister of Australia, called the decision to once again revoke Djokovic's visa as "one big political distraction from empty shelves & the national shortage of boosters & RATs [Rapid Antigen Tests]."

Former Serbian tennis player Janko Tipsarevic, who reached a career high of No. 8 in the world, has been left decidedly unimpressed by what has transpired.

"Toxic shame on each and everyone involved in this process," he tweeted.

8:41 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Australian officials will seek to detain Djokovic on Saturday

From Hannah Ritchie in Melbourne

A general view of the Park Hotel in Carlton on January 06 in Melbourne, Australia.
A general view of the Park Hotel in Carlton on January 06 in Melbourne, Australia. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Australia’s immigration officials will seek to interview Novak Djokovic at 8 a.m. local time on Saturday (Friday 4 p.m. ET) and detain him shortly after.

The world men’s tennis No.1 has been asked to “present himself” for an interview with authorities, though his lawyers are currently contesting that request in open court.

Djokovic’s barrister Nick Wood told the court that the 34-year-old tennis player has not been taken into immigration detention yet and remains at a “residential address.”

8:41 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Novak Djokovic’s lawyers call decision to cancel visa a second time “patently irrational”

From Hannah Ritchie in Melbourne

Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts building, where the hearing of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is held at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, is seen in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, January 14.
Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts building, where the hearing of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is held at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, is seen in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, January 14. (Mark Baker/AP)

The decision to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa a second time is “patently irrational,” his barrister Nick Wood argued in an emergency court hearing Friday.

“Has your Honor had time to read the reasons of the minister?” Wood asked Judge Anthony Kelly in court Friday.

Wood went on to claim Immigration Minister Alex Hawke had canceled Djokovic’s visa on grounds that his presence in the country could “excite anti-vaccination sentiment.”

He described the reasoning as “patently irrational,” calling it a “radically new approach” by the federal government to eject the tennis star from the country.

5:46 a.m. ET, January 14, 2022

Judge suggests Djokovic case could be heard in a higher court 

From Hannah Ritchie in Melbourne

World men’s No.1 Novak Djokovic could have his visa cancellation case transferred to Australia’s Federal Court, Judge Anthony Kelly, the presiding judge in his case, announced Friday. 

Djokovic’s hearing on Monday was heard in Australia’s Federal Circuit and Family Court. Judge Kelly has requested a transfer to the Federal Court of Australia, due to the case's importance. 

The issue is still being debated in open court. The suggested hearing would be Saturday, January 15.