Australian deputy PM hints at Novak Djokovic reprieve – ‘I got it wrong’

Novak Djokovic may have just received a hint that he will be given the green light to extend his stay in Australia from the country's deputy prime minister.

Barnaby Joyce had suggested on Monday that the tennis star was looking for special treatment from authorities and made his feelings on the situation clear.

"We are not making special exemptions for people because they're rich and famous, that's not how Australia works," he said on the Sunrise morning TV show.

In saying that, he was advocating for Djokovic to be turned away from the country because he had not proven his vaccination status.

But the deputy PM has now u-turned on that stance, admitting that his statement was wrong.

"I got it wrong. I thought that it would be game, set, match that he hadn't been double-vaxxed and he would've been asked to go," Joyce said.

"I got it wrong, okay. I'm not going to pretend to be a solicitor again."

With Djokovic's place at the Australian Open, which begins next Monday, still up in the air, Joyce's admission could be seen as a hint that the Serb might yet be allowed to stay in the country.

After his visa was initially cancelled by Border Force agents, Djokovic's lawyers forced a court appeal which they won.

Judge Anthony Kelly ruled in favour of the tennis star, saying it had been unfair of officials to revoke his visa in the way they did, and ordered the world number one's release from his detention hotel.

He has since trained at the Rod Laver Arena, now that he is finally able to embark on his preparations for the first Grand Slam of 2022.

But despite that ruling, Djokovic still finds himself at the mercy of immigration minister Alex Hawke, who has the final say on what happens now.

Under the Migration Act, Hawke has the power to swoop in and overrule the judge's decision by cancelling the visa anyway.

It had been thought that a decision would come on Tuesday, but a spokesperson from his office has said Hawke will be taking extra time to consider the matter and now a final call is expected on Wednesday at the earliest.

A statement read: "As noted yesterday in the Federal Circuit and Family Court, minister Hawke is considering whether to cancel Mr Djokovic's visa. In line with due process, minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter."

Some tennis fans have joined American player Tennys Sandgren in calling for Australia to be stripped of its right to host a Grand Slam tournament over its handling of this situation.

But Victoria premier Daniel Andrews has rubbished such suggestions, stating the Australian Open is "much bigger than any one person".

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