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Live Reporting

Edited by Claudia Allen

All times stated are UK

  1. What's happened today?

    Djokovic practising for the tournament he may not attend

    We're now pausing our coverage of Novak Djokovic's battle to stay in Australia and defend his Australian Open title. Thanks for following developments with us.

    Here's a reminder of what's just happened.

    • Australia's government has dramatically cancelled Djokovic's visa for a second time
    • It's all about his right to enter the country, and play in the Australian Open, despite being unvaccinated against Covid-19
    • The world's number one faces deportation and a three-year ban on getting a new visa
    • His lawyers are lodging a legal challenge and, at a late-night hearing, it's been agreed he won't be deported for now
    • But he will be detained by immigration officials on Saturday morning at 08:00 local time (21:00 Friday GMT) and we don't know where he will be held
    • Djokovic's team say his visa was cancelled on the grounds he might "excite" the anti-vaccination movement in Australia
    • PM Scott Morrison says the decision to revoke the visa was to protect the "sacrifices" made by Australians
    • For now, Djokovic remains in the Australian Open draw and is scheduled to play on Monday
  2. Next legal hearing is due in nine hours

    We've just heard that the next step in Djokovic's legal journey is a hearing, in front of Australia's Federal Court, at 10:15 Saturday morning local time (that's 23:15 Friday GMT).

    The judge in Friday's hearing ruled that the tennis star's case should be transferred to the federal court.

    At that hearing which concluded just a couple of hours ago it was agreed that Djokovic would be taken into immigration detention once more on Saturday morning at 08:00 local time.

    Here are the documents from Friday's hearing.

    Djokovic's side want the case to move as quickly as possible as they are hoping for a successful challenge to the visa cancellation before play starts in the Australian Open on Monday.

    View more on twitter
  3. Djokovic treated like a criminal - Serbia

    Some strong words just in from Serbia, where our correspondent in Belgrade, Guy De Launey, has been speaking to a senior official in the foreign ministry.

    Nemanja Starovic told the BBC that Serbia has the impression "Djokovic was treated like a criminal - but he is not".

    He says the government have been giving their "full support" to Djokovic and his legal team but the player was not given "fair treatment"

    "We have seen other tennis players who didn't respect their mandatory isolation but they haven’t received the same treatment as Novak," he says.

    He also says that there was an impression across the media that Djokovic was a "spoilt brat", but this was "detached from reality".

    Starovic says that the Serbian government is asking Australia not to hold Djokovic in a detention centre again, saying "he doesn’t deserve that. He’s not an illegal migrant".

    "Relations between our two countries have always been friendly and public opinion about Australia was always strong here in Serbia.

    "Unfortunately he was treated like a criminal, so this could potentially damaged the relations between two countries," Starovic says.

  4. The hotel caught in the spotlight of Djokovic's visa row

    Activists have been gathering at the hotel in support of refugees

    Novak Djokovic has not been immediately sent back to the immigration detention hotel where he spent five nights when his visa was first revoked.

    But it may well be where he ends up after he is detained by immigration officials on Saturday morning.

    Refugees and asylum seekers have long complained of the poor conditions at the Park Hotel in Melbourne.

    Kurdish refugee Mostafa "Moz" Azimitabar, who spent more than a year in immigration hotels including two months at the Park Hotel, described his room there as a "coffin".

    He said he spent about 23 hours a day inside the room he shared with one other person, where the window was tinted and sealed shut.

    "A hotel is a place for people who want to be comfortable and enjoy their time, but when they lock the place, that place becomes a prison, not a hotel," he said.

    Read more about the situation there.

  5. 'All about money and politics'

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Nicky Campbell has been asking Radio 5 Live listeners if they think Australian leaders have made the right decision over Djokovic's visa.

    Jenny in Norwich hasn't been granted a visa to visit her 96-year-old mother, who lives just outside Melbourne, since the start of the pandemic.

    She believes Djokovic shouldn't be allowed into Australia for three years and says allowing sportspeople in is "all about money and politics".

    Karen in Glasgow disagrees and says revoking Djokovic's visa seems "petty and revengeful".

    She says as the tennis star has been allowed freedom of movement for the past week, there can't possibly be any further concerns about him endangering public health.

    Meanwhile Michael from Sydney was stuck in the UK last year, unable to return to his four children and job in Australia after flying to be with his 96-year-old mother during the first lockdown.

    He has since managed to get back home after paying for an £8,000 business class ticket.

    He says sports professionals have "waltzed in on their private jets, [broken] the systems, lied on their forms and expected to be treated differently".

  6. Novak Djokovic practising for the tournament he may not attend

    For now, Djokovic remains in the Australian Open draw as his visa saga drags on.

    Earlier on Friday - before the decision from an Australian minister to cancel his visa once more - the world number one was photographed taking part in practice sessions at the Melbourne Park sports venue where the Grand Slam tournament will be played.

    Novak Djokovic at a practice session in Melbourne Park on January 14
    Novak Djokovic during a practice session
    Novak Djokovic at a practice session in Melbourne Park on January 14

    Djokovic has already won the Australian Open nine times and he remains hopeful of defending his title next week.

    If - and it's a big if - he gets to compete, a win would make him the most successful male tennis player in history with a record 21 Grand Slam titles. The Serb, 34, is currently tied with Rafael Nadal (35) and Roger Federer (40) as all three have won 20 titles.

    Novak Djokovic rests during a practice session in Melbourne Park
  7. Djokovic saga not good for anyone - Andy Murray

    Jonathan Jurejko

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    More now from Britain's former world number one Andy Murray - who's reiterated his belief that the Djokovic saga is "not good for anyone".

    Murray, 34, has known the Serb since they were children and, following the Scot's win at a pre-Open tournament in Sydney a short time ago, was asked for his take on the situation.

    "I'm not going to sit here and start kicking Novak whilst he's down. I said it the other day, it's not a good situation for anyone.

    "It's unfortunate that it's ended up in this sort of situation. I just want it to get resolved. I think it would be good for everyone if that was the case.

    "It just seems like it's dragged on for quite a long time now and not great for the tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak.

    "Obviously a lot of people have criticised the government here, as well. It's not been good."

    Read more tennis reaction to the Djokovic visa saga here.

  8. Anti-vaxxers transfixed by Djokovic saga

    Kayleen Devlin

    BBC Monitoring disinformation team

    Protesters marching against vaccine mandates in Sydney, Australia
    Image caption: A protest against vaccine mandates in Sydney, Australia

    Novak Djokovic’s lawyer claims that the tennis champion's visa was cancelled because authorities were worried that allowing him to play would "excite" Australia’s anti-vax movement.

    And it is fair to say the case has certainly attracted the attention of the hard core anti-vaccine minority.

    Today, in one of the most popular Australian anti-vax channels on the messaging app Telegram, the unvaccinated Djokovic is being held up as an international symbol against what activists call “virus tyranny”.

    Other similar groups are repeating debunked claims linking the vaccine to heart problems in athletes.

    And earlier in the week there were calls by anti-vaxxers to boycott the Australian Open, and multiple posts across social media declaring support for the tennis star - who, it should be said, has never publicly expressed support for the most outlandish anti-vax conspiracy theories.

    These are of course small groups. More than 92% of Australia's over-16s are already vaccinated against Covid.

    However, these small groups are vocal - and at times their online discussions spill out into the streets in protests and other actions.

  9. Employee fired over leak of newsreaders' Djokovic rant

    7News presenters

    It's getting very late in Melbourne and we aren't expecting any major developments until Djokovic is detained on Saturday morning.

    But if you remember the expletive-laden video of two Australian newsreaders privately talking about the Djokovic saga which was leaked earlier this week, we have an update on that.

    The staffer who allegedly leaked the clip has been fired, according to their former employer.

    The video, which went viral, shows Channel 7 journalists Mike Amor and Rebecca Maddern talking candidly about the tennis star as they prepare to read the evening news.

    Maddern says Djokovic is "lying" and "sneaky", while Amor says the athlete has "fallen over his own [expletive] lies".

    The newsreaders were reacting to an earlier twist in the saga, when Djokovic successfully challenged his first visa cancellation. That feels like a long time ago, but was earlier this week.

    Ai-Media Technologies, which provides captioning services, said an "employee working remotely" was "responsible for the unauthorised distribution of the content".

  10. What happened in the court hearing?

    The late-night hearing has now concluded. Here's what was decided:

    • Judge Kelly has ruled that the case should be transferred to Australia's Federal Court rather than stay with his court (this isn't what Novak Djokovic's lawyers wanted)
    • Djokovic's side want the full hearing to take place on Sunday morning, meaning the outcome would be known before play starts in the Australian Open on Monday
    • Novak Djokovic will be taken into immigration detention once more on Saturday morning at 08:00 Melbourne time, but will be escorted to and from his lawyers' offices by border force officials for meetings on Saturday and for the Sunday morning hearing
    • The Australian government will not seek to deport Djokovic in the meantime
    • The player's lawyers say the reason the government has given for cancelling his visa was not to excite anti-vaccination sentiment in Australia
  11. Visa cancelled to avoid exciting anti-vax sentiment - Djokovic lawyers

    One of the key developments from the hearing was that lawyers for Novak Djokovic gave their understanding of why the Australian government cancelled the tennis player's visa.

    They said that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke believed letting Djokovic stay in the country would excite anti-vaccination sentiment. The lawyers argued that this was "patently irrational".

    It's the first time we've heard this as a reason for the cancellation, but it should be said that it has been made public by Djokovic's lawyers, not by the government.

    The earlier statement from the immigration minister was less specific, saying only that the decision was made on "health and good order grounds".

    Although Djokovic is not vaccinated, he has not actively promoted anti-vax disinformation. However, Australian anti-vaxxers have been using the hashtag #IStandWithDjokovic on social media.

    Australia's vaccination campaign started slowly, and was hampered by fears of very rare side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine, which made up the bulk of Australia's vaccine supply early in the campaign.

    However, more than 90% of Australia's eligible population is now fully vaccinated.

  12. Agreement reached and hearing ends

    That was quicker than expected - that's all from the court.

    Lawyers representing the two sides agreed Djokovic could be taken into custody at an unknown location to avoid the "media circus" that his lawyers are concerned about.

    The hearing is now over and the judge says he will publish his reasons on Saturday morning.

  13. Djokovic could play on Monday

    Jonathan Jurejko

    BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

    The Australian Open has just announced the top half of the men's singles draw - which includes Djokovic - will be played on Monday.

    It means if the Serb is again able to overturn the decision to cancel his visa on Sunday he will start his title defence the following day.

  14. Hearing resumes

    And we are back under way again...

  15. How Australian news channels covered the decision

    Stick with us - we are waiting for the court hearing on the next steps to resume.

    In the meantime here's how Australian TV networks covered today's news that the immigration minister was cancelling Novak Djokovic's visa:

    Video content

    Video caption: How Australian broadcasters reported latest Djokovic decision
  16. Djokovic lawyers worried about a 'media circus'

    Just before the judge called an adjournment, lawyers for the tennis player said they had real concerns about a "media circus" taking place when Djokovic is taken back into detention.

    They also said they had security concerns if the location of Djokovic's detention becomes publicly known.

    Judge Kelly replied by saying "on mature reflection the obviousness of that circus might have occurred to everyone before 10.55pm on Friday". He then paused proceedings.

  17. Court adjourned again

    Judge Kelly orders another five minute adjournment after he finds that the two sides are not in agreement.

    It's very late at night in Melbourne - nearly 2300 - and the judge's patience is being tried, it seems.

  18. Djokovic to be taken into detention on Saturday morning

    The judge says that Djokovic should attend the interview with immigration officials at 08:00 on Saturday local time (21:00 on Friday GMT).

    He should then be able to take part in meetings at his solicitors' office on Saturday from 10:00 - 14:00, and again on Sunday morning for the court hearing.

    This attendance should be supervised by Australian Border Force officers.

    This means that Djokovic will be taken into immigration detention on Saturday morning.

    Judge Kelly also orders that the proceedings should be transferred to the Federal Court of Australia.

  19. Hearing resumes after short break

    The court hearing to decide on the next steps is back under way after a short adjournment.

    It's being live-streamed on YouTube, although court rules forbid us from bringing you the pictures live.

    About 20,000 people are currently watching the stream, which unfortunately for those of us following it closely is slightly intermittent.

    We'll be bringing you all the latest developments from the late-night hearing.

  20. A quick timeline of Djokovic's visa saga

    Here's a quick look at how events unfolded:

    1 January - Novak Djokovic submits travel declaration to Australian Government department of Home Affairs. He receives a government response saying his declaration had been assessed and he met requirements for quarantine-free travel into Australia

    2 January - Issued a border travel permit from the Victoria state government

    5 January - Djokovic arrives at Melbourne Airport at 2300 local time on a flight from Spain via Dubai

    6 January - He gets notice of his visa cancellation at 4:30 local time. An hour and a half later at 6:00 local time, he faces a visa interview. Then at 7:42 local time, his visa is cancelled and he is taken into detention

    6-10 January - Djokovic is held in immigration detention at the Park Hotel in Melbourne

    10 January - The player mounts a legal challenge to overturn his visa cancellation in the Federal Circuit Court. He wins the case after the government withdraws and the court orders his release at 17:42 local time

    14 January - Immigration Minister Alex Hawke revokes visa