Gary Lineker has described the fiasco surrounding Novak Djokovic’s appearance at the upcoming Australian Open as “completely bonkers” as uncertainty over his place in the draw rages on. The Serb, who has won each of the last three editions of the tournament, still faces the threat of deportation from the country despite having his visa canceled after a court hearing on Monday.
Djokovic was arrested upon his arrival in Australia on Thursday after further details were requested regarding his exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine to enter and compete in the first Grand Slam of the new year.
It was finally decided on Monday that his visa cancellation order would be overturned and he would be released from detention with immediate effect.
However, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke retains the power to overturn the verdict and is said to be considering his options.
A decision is expected to be made on Tuesday at the earliest, but could be delayed until later in the week, according to The Guardian.
The hearing was followed by clashes between Djokovic supporters and Melbourne police, with a number of people sprayed with pepper spray after trying to block the path of a car they believe was carrying the 34 year old man.
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Lineker reacted to a clip of the incident shared on social media by expressing his disgust at the situation, Tweeter: “The world has gone absolutely crazy.”
In the meantime, it remains to be seen if Djokovic will eventually feature at this year’s Australian Open as he awaits further clarification on whether his visa will be revoked at Hawke’s request.
Conflicting reports have sown confusion since the hearing ended, with Serbian media claiming that Djokovic was arrested just minutes after the verdict was delivered with a view to being deported in the coming days.
However, The Age and others have reported that no such arrests have been made and that Hawke is still considering whether or not to overturn the verdict.
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Djokovic’s brother, Djordje, spoke out after Monday’s hearing criticizing the Australian government and revealing that talks have already taken place behind closed doors to assess next steps.
“Novak has shown he is persistent and believes in his ideals, he won this fight for the whole world,” he told reporters in Serbia.
“The judge made the right decision based on the facts, but we are getting reports that the minister is above the court.
“Novak is in a political whirlwind, Australians are unhappy as they have been locked down since the start of the pandemic.
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“It’s definitely politics. What we can do is let all the social media know – they want to capture and lock up Novak again.
“This is the latest information, we are currently consulting with public relations on our next steps.
“He is right now with his lawyers in the room they were in during the hearing, considering his options.”