No decision yet on Djokovic visa: PM Scott

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday his government has yet to decide on can-celling tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s visa.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s earlier statement that he is pondering whether to tear up the visa “has not changed”, Morrison told a news con-ference in Canberra on the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Australian leader stressed that it was a deci-sion for Hawke to take, declining further comment. Djokovic flew into Melbourne hoping to claim a tenth Australian Open title on January 5.

The unvaccinated 34-year-old Serbian ace car-ried with him a vaccine exemption because of a claimed positive PCR test result on December 16.

Border agents rejected his exemption, saying a recent infection was an insufficient reason, tore up his visa and placed him in a detention centre.

But vaccine-sceptic Djokovic’s high-powered legal team overturned the visa decision in court on Monday on a procedural matter related to his airport interview.

Novak Djokovic knew he’d tested positive for Covid-19 when he attended a newspaper interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month, saying Wednesday he made an “error of judgment” and should have immediately gone into isolation.

In a statement posted to his social media ac-counts, the tennis star also blamed human error by his support team for failing to declare that he had travelled in the two-week period before entering Australia.

Upon arrival, his visa was revoked and then later reinstated in an ongoing saga over whether he should be allowed into the country despite not being vaccinated against Covid-19. The news that Djok-ovic was granted an exemption to vaccination rules to enter the country provoked an initial outcry and the ensuing dispute has since overshadowed the lead-up to the Australian Open.

Djokovic acknowledged the lapses when he sought to clarify what he called “continuing misin-formation about his movements” after he became infected last month though he did not spell out what inaccuracies he was referring to.

The statement was posted while the men’s world number one was in Rod Laver Arena holding a practice session, his third on the tournament’s main court since being released from four nights in immigration detention.

The nine-time and defending Australian Open champion remains in limbo before the year’s first tennis major starts on Monday. The stakes are par-ticularly high since he is seeking a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title.—AFP

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