Novak Djokovic's telling move with deportation decision looming

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·Sports Editor
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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
Novak Djokovic, pictured here practicing on Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
Novak Djokovic moved his practice session from the afternoon to morning on Friday. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic made a telling change to his practice schedule on Friday morning as a decision on his possible deportation loomed.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still weighing up whether to cancel the tennis superstar's visa, just three days out from the Australian Open.

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With the decision hovering over his head, Djokovic decided to change his practice schedule at Melbourne Park on Friday.

The World No.1 was originally scheduled to hit the practice court at Rod Laver Arena at 2.45pm.

However Djokovic switched things up and was out on court at 9.30am, a move that suggests he might be getting ready for some important meetings with his legal team on Friday afternoon.

The unvaccinated Djokovic is reportedly determined to continue the fight should the verdict go against him.

Multiple reports suggest that the government is leaning towards revoking the visa again and that Djokovic's lawyers would immediately launch a legal appeal over any attempt at deportation.

On Friday morning, Independent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie called on Mr Hawke to make a decision.

"Why does this keep dripping out of the tap," the senator asked on Channel Nine.

"Alex Hawke, where are you? Missing in action?

"If you can't make a decision on Novak Djokovic, goodness me, how are you guys running the country? This is an absolute shambles."

Senator Lambie said Djokovic should be sent packing if he has broken the rules.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said while the visa issue was a matter for Mr Hawke, the government had been very clear about its border control measures requiring people to be double vaccinated for Covid-19 before entering Australia.

"Our policy, not to come to any specific case, remains the same," Senator Birmingham told the Nine Network.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here during a practice session on Friday morning.
Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during a practice session on Friday morning. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Will Novak Djokovic be deported from Australia?

Djokovic's cause is being hampered by his own admission that a wrong entry declaration had been made on his visa.

A box was ticked that confirmed he had not travelled abroad in the two weeks before leaving for Australia, even though he had actually been to Spain from Serbia in that period.

The 34-year-old also acknowledged that he shouldn't have attended an interview and photoshoot with French newspaper L'Equipe while infected with Covid-19 before Christmas.

Asked on Thursday whether Djokovic would have his visa cancelled, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Hawke was still considering.

"I will refer to Mr Hawke's most recent statement, and that position hasn't changed," Mr Morrison said in Canberra.

"These are personal ministerial powers, able to be exercised by Minister Hawke, and I don't propose to make any further comment at this time."

The Prime Minister later said Australia's border policy had not changed since reopening to international travellers in December.

"The individual has to show they are double-vaccinated, or must provide acceptable proof they can't be vaccinated for medical reasons," Mr Morrison said.

with AAP

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