Australian Open on red alert for fear of violence in the stands if Novak Djokovic is released to play

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247 news from all over the world

The tennis authorities in Melbourne fear a tinderbox situation at the Australian Open and are reviewing the safety precautions should Novak Djokovic finally be released for participation.

Brawls broke out in the city’s business district on Monday, during which protesters were sprayed with pepper spray after it was suggested that he should be re-arrested, despite a court clearing him to play.

Since Djokovic is in the focus of rowdy supporters, including anti-Vaxxers, the uniformed presence will be increased at the beginning of the event on Monday.

Novak Djokovic is at the center of vocal supporters in Melbourne, including anti-Vaxxers

Novak Djokovic is at the center of vocal supporters in Melbourne, including anti-Vaxxers

Novak Djokovic is at the center of vocal supporters in Melbourne, including anti-Vaxxers

However, it was far from certain that he would be allowed to play, despite winning the court ruling that overturned the Border Forces decision to rupture his visa.

If allowed to stay, Tennis Australia will move to avoid scenes that tarnished the tournament in the noughties when fans of rival players from Balkan countries clashed. Garden Square in Melbourne Park was the site of a mass brawl between Serbs and Croats in 2007.

Sentiments were high after Judge Anthony Kelly made a decision that Djokovic should be arrested or deported after he was denied entry late Wednesday night.

In Belgrade, his family gave another hyperbolic press conference at which the player’s father Srdjan said: “I urge Queen Elizabeth, the leader of the Commonwealth, to intervene and protect my son’s human rights and end the political persecution against him.” since he came to Australia. ‘

In the business district of the city there was a fight between the police and Serbian fans on Monday

In the business district of the city there was a fight between the police and Serbian fans on Monday

In the business district of the city there was a fight between the police and Serbian fans on Monday

Perhaps the most telling comment, however, came from the office of Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke, a close ally of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. It was clarified that he could override the court’s technical view that the law was not being followed to stop Djokovic at the border.

“It is at the discretion of Immigration Secretary Hawke to consider revoking Mr Djokovic’s visa as part of his personal cancellation authority under the Migration Act,” the statement said. “The minister is looking into the matter and the process is still ongoing.”

The judge ordered Djokovic to be released within half an hour of his verdict being pronounced and the player, who has not been able to play any sport since leaving his base in Marbella a week ago, wasted no time in Melbourne Park to train.

Garden Square in Melbourne Park was the site of a fight between Serbs and Croats in 2007

Garden Square in Melbourne Park was the site of a fight between Serbs and Croats in 2007

Garden Square in Melbourne Park was the site of a fight between Serbs and Croats in 2007

On his Twitter feed he wrote: “I am pleased and grateful that the judge has lifted my visa cancellation. Despite what has happened, I want to stay and try to compete in the Australian Open. I flew here to play in front of great fans at one of the most important events we have. ‘

Court documents about his interview with border officials made it clear for the first time that Djokovic is still unvaccinated. His reasons for entering the country are a somewhat mysterious positive Covid test that was carried out on December 16.

Whether his cause was helped by his family’s condemnations about his treatment is another matter. His captivity was described as “inhuman” and his brother Djordje insisted that “he only fights for freedom of choice”.

At least Rafael Nadal, who had previously criticized Djokovic, seemed satisfied with his participation. “It seems perfect, absolutely right,” said Nadal. “Whether or not you agree with some things about Djokovic, the judiciary has spoken and said he has the right to play at the Australian Open and that is really the fairest way to go.”

Serbia's Djokovic is not yet sure whether he will be allowed to stay in Australia to play

Serbia's Djokovic is not yet sure whether he will be allowed to stay in Australia to play

Serbia’s Djokovic is not yet sure whether he will be allowed to stay in Australia to play

Novak Djokovic is still pending as the immigration minister refuses to rule out the cancellation of his visa - but he posted this picture of himself practicing in the Rod Laver area just hours after leaving for a five day period Torture was finally released from custody

Novak Djokovic is still pending as the immigration minister refuses to rule out the cancellation of his visa - but he posted this picture of himself practicing in the Rod Laver area just hours after leaving for a five day period Torture was finally released from custody

Novak Djokovic is still pending as the immigration minister refuses to rule out the cancellation of his visa – but he posted this picture of himself practicing in the Rod Laver area just hours after leaving for a five day period Torture was finally released from custody

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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