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How we got here — Timeline of Novak Djokovic’s visa saga ahead of Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic intends to pursue a 10th Australian Open title as the first tennis major of the year begins on Monday. But before the Serbian player can turn his attention to breaking a 20-Grand Slam singles titles tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the world’s top-ranked men’s player must first resolve his ongoing visa saga.

The 34-year-old, who is one major final win from claiming the men’s record, still risks the chance of deportation.

Djokovic’s visa was canceled upon his arrival to Melbourne, Australia, last week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, but he has since won a legal battle on procedural grounds allowing him to stay in the country. Then, on Friday, his visa was revoked again and now he is facing possible deportation.

The latest twist in the saga over whether the athlete should be allowed to stay in Australia despite not being vaccinated revolves around the revelation that he provided false information on an immigration form.

Here is a timeline of the events that led us to this point:


Jan. 14, 2022: Djokovic has visa revoked again, but likely to appeal

Although the first round of play at the year’s first Grand Slam is fast approaching, Djokovic’s status remains uncertain after the Australian government for a second time revoked his visa. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his ministerial discretion to pull the visa. Djokovic and his lawyers will have a meeting with immigration officials in Melbourne at 8 a.m. local time (4 p.m. ET on Friday).


Jan. 13, 2022: Djokovic slated to open title defense against Kecmanovic

After a delayed draw ceremony — a tournament official declines to comment to media on why the start time is pushed back — it is revealed that Djokovic will face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the Australian Open, if he’s allowed to play.

According to the 2022 Grand Slam Rule Book, if Djokovic is forced to pull out of the tournament before the order of play for Day 1 is announced, No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev would move into his spot in the bracket.


Jan. 12, 2022: Djokovic clarifies COVID-19 timeline; acknowledges ‘administrative mistake’

Djokovic’s most extensive public comments on the events that have transpired in Australia come via a post on social media. The post is shared by someone else while he is in Rod Laver Arena holding his third practice session on the tournament’s main court since being released from four nights in immigration detention.

In the statement, the nine-time and defending Australian Open champion acknowledges a mistake on his travel declaration for Australia — which failed to indicate that he had been in multiple countries over the prior two weeks — and confessed to an “error of judgment” in taking part in an interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month after testing positive for COVID-19.

Djokovic blames his agent for checking the wrong box on the form, calling it “a human error and certainly not deliberate.” He also sought to clarify what he called “continuing misinformation” about his movements after he became infected last month, though he did not specifically state what inaccuracies he was alluding to.

The 34-year-old remains in limbo before the year’s first tennis major starts Monday, as he still faces the prospect of deportation. It’s a decision that is entirely at the discretion of Australia’s immigration minister, if deemed to be in the public interest for health and safety reasons.

Deportation could result in sanctions ranging up to a three-year ban from entering Australia, a particularly daunting possibility for a player who has won almost half of his 20 Grand Slam singles titles in the country.


Jan. 11, 2022: Djokovic confirmed as No. 1 seed for Australian Open

Although his status remains uncertain, Djokovic is listed as the top seed for the men’s field at the Australian Open. The tournament organizers strictly follow the current rankings in determining seedings and Djokovic is ranked No. 1; he has spent more weeks atop the ATP than any other man in the history of the men’s professional tour’s computerized rankings.

Daniil Medvedev, who defeated Djokovic in the US Open final last year to prevent the Serbian player from capturing a calendar-year Grand Slam, is seeded second. They are followed by Alexander Zverev at No. 3, Stefanos Tsitsipas at No. 4 and Andrey Rublev at No. 5.

Nadal is seeded sixth. Federer is not playing in the tournament while he continues his recovery from right knee surgery.


Jan. 10, 2022: Djokovic’s visa is reinstated; released from immigration detention

Djokovic appeals the cancellation of his visa at a virtual court hearing on Monday, submitting an affidavit that says he is not vaccinated for COVID-19 and arguing he did not need proof of vaccination because he had evidence that he had been infected with the coronavirus last month. Australian medical authorities have ruled that a temporary exemption for the vaccination rule can be provided to people who have been infected with COVID-19 within six months.

Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly reinstates Djokovic’s visa, ruling the player was not given enough time to speak to his lawyers before the decision to deny him entry was made and noting Djokovic had provided officials at Melbourne’s airport with a medical exemption given to him by Tennis Australia and two medical panels. Kelly also orders the government to release Djokovic from immigration detention.

Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park hours later. He also takes to Twitter to express his gratitude and express that he remains focused on the tournament.

Government lawyer Christopher Tran tells the judge after the ruling that the minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation.”


Jan. 9, 2022: Djokovic’s parents join protest in Serbia

Djokovic’s parents join a protest rally in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, with their son still in an Australian immigration detention hotel. Fans of Djokovic in Serbia anxiously await the court hearing that could decide whether he can play at the Australian Open.


Jan. 6, 2022: Djokovic denied entry into Australia; visa canceled

After being detained for about eight hours at the airport upon arrival, the 20-time major winner is denied entry to the country and his visa is canceled. The Australian Border Force says Djokovic failed to meet entry requirements. Health Minister Greg Hunt says the visa cancellation followed a review of Djokovic’s medical exemption — which was expected to shield him from the strict COVID-19 vaccination regulations in place — by border officials who looked “at the integrity and the evidence behind it.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweets: “Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.”

The tennis star is brought to a hotel used to house immigration detainees in Carlton, an inner-northern suburb of Melbourne, where he remains for four nights. Fans gather in protest outside the hotel.

Djokovic’s wife, Jelena, takes to Twitter to share her thoughts on the situation.


Jan. 5, 2022: Djokovic arrives at Melbourne Tullamarine Airport

A public outcry surfaces on social media among Australians while Djokovic’s flight to Melbourne is in the air. The Age newspaper in Melbourne reports Djokovic lands before midnight local time on Wednesday at Tullamarine Airport, but his entry is delayed because of a mistake with his visa application.

Djokovic’s father says Novak is being held in a room with police out front.


Jan. 4, 2022: Djokovic announces he is heading Down Under with medical exemption

Djokovic reveals he will compete at the tennis season’s opening Grand Slam event after receiving a medical exemption from getting vaccinated against COVID-19. He posts a photo of himself at an airport on Instagram with a caption that reads, in part: “I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission.” Tennis Australia follows with a statement confirming Djokovic is on his way to the country with a medical exemption that has been “granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.”

Neither Djokovic nor Tennis Australia reveals the basis for his exemption. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says a “handful” of exemptions had been granted out of 26 applications from players or others.


Jan. 1, 2022: Tiley is asked about Djokovic’s status

After much speculation over Djokovic’s participation, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is asked about the Serbian’s status for the Australian Open and responds: “There’s quite a bit to play out and I think it will play out in the coming days.”


Dec. 29, 2021: Djokovic pulls out of ATP Cup

Days before the competition is due to begin in Sydney, Djokovic withdraws from Serbia’s team for the ATP Cup. No reason is given.

“Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the ATP Cup in Sydney, we have no update as yet on his plans for the Australian Open,” a Tennis Australia spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.


Dec. 22, 2021: Djokovic tests negative

According to court documents, Djokovic tests negative for COVID-19 in Serbia.


Dec. 18, 2021: Djokovic does interview and photo shoot for L’Equipe

Knowing he tested positive, Djokovic does an interview and photo shoot with the French newspaper L’Equipe. He acknowledges weeks later: “On reflection, this was an error of judgment.”


Dec. 17, 2021: Djokovic attends Belgrade event

The nine-time Australian Open champion attends an event in Belgrade, Serbia, honoring youth tennis players. Parents post photos on social media showing Djokovic and the young players without masks. Djokovic later says he was asymptomatic, had taken an antigen test before the event that showed he was negative, and only received a positive PCR result after the event.


Dec. 16, 2021: Djokovic tests positive

Djokovic tests positive for COVID-19 in Serbia, although that is not public knowledge until it is revealed by court documents in January. He later says he did not know the result until Dec. 17.


Dec. 14, 2021: Djokovic attends a basketball game

The tennis star takes in a professional basketball game in Belgrade, Serbia. He is photographed hugging several players from both teams, including some who later tested positive for COVID-19.


Dec. 8, 2021: Merlino speaks on medical exemptions

Victoria state Deputy Premier James Merlino says medical exemptions for the vaccine policy would not be “a loophole for privileged tennis players” and would only be possible in “exceptional circumstances, if you have an acute medical condition.”


Nov. 19, 2021: Tiley states all Australian Open participants must be vaccinated

Confirming an edict made by the Victorian state government in late October, tournament director Craig Tiley says everyone at the 2022 Australian Open must be vaccinated for COVID-19. Djokovic’s vaccine status is unknown at the time.


June 2020: The Adria Tour is called off, Djokovic contracts COVID-19

Djokovic announces that he and his wife, Jelena, have tested positive for COVID-19 after he played in a series of exhibition matches he organized in Serbia and Croatia with no social distancing or masking required amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Adria Tour is canceled as Djokovic is the fourth player to test positive for the illness after participating in the matches held in Belgrade and Zadar, Croatia.


April 2020: Djokovic says he is ‘keeping an open mind’ regarding vaccine

As the coronavirus pandemic rages, Djokovic says in a Facebook Live, “Personally, I am opposed to vaccination, and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel. … But if it becomes compulsory, I will have to make a decision whether to do it, or not.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency/news feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.

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Playoff FanDuel Picks: NFL DFS lineup advice for Cardinals-Rams Wild Card single-game tournaments

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The Cardinals and Rams battle in an AFC West rematch in this Monday night playoff showdown, as two No. 1 overall draft pick QBs battle for their first career playoff win. To go along with the two stud QBs, we have highly productive RBs and volatile receivers on both sides. Our FanDuel single-game tournament lineup features the top two most expensive (and chalkiest) picks, so we’ll have to take a risk elsewhere to give us some differentiation for DFS tournaments.

Here are the key scoring settings for FanDuel single-game contests: The point total for the “MVP” is multiplied by 1.5, but he doesn’t cost any additional money like the “Captain” in DraftKings Showdown contests. FanDuel’s default scoring is half-point PPR and four-point passing TDs, and there are no bonuses for 100/300-yard games like on DraftKings.

MORE FD SINGLE GAME: How to win a FanDuel single-game contest

FanDuel Single-Game DFS Picks: Cardinals vs. Rams

$50,000 budget, need at least one player from each team.

MVP: (1.5x points): QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals ($17,000)

The Cardinals offense hasn’t been quite the same since injuries DeAndre Hopkins (knee) and the running backs have slowed it down, but Murray still has four 21-plus FD performances in his past eight games with a high of 30.82. His upside rivals any QB in the league, whether he puts up a huge passing stat line or rushes for a touchdown or two. The Rams are the toughest defense against QBs, but Murray finished with just around 20 points in both matchups during the regular season.

DRAFTKINGS SINGLE-GAME LINEUPS:
LV-CIN | NE-BUF | PHI-TB | SF-DAL | PIT-KC | ARI-LAR

FLEX: WR Cooper Kupp, Rams ($16,000)

We don’t need to sell you on Kupp, but it’s worth noting we’re playing him “naked” without Matthew Stafford. Would anyone be shocked if Kupp has another monster day but Stafford turns the ball over a few times? That’s the idea here, and most people with be playing Kupp with Stafford, so if that plays out, we’ll have a unique lineup.

FANDUEL SINGLE-GAME LINEUPS:
LV-CIN | NE-BUF | PHI-TB | SF-DAL | PIT-KC

FLEX: RB James Conner, Cardinals ($13,000)

Conner and Chase Edmonds (ribs, toe) are evidently competing to see who can be more injured, but for now, Conner is the healthiest of the two. He’s scored in double-figures 11 times this season, and especially if Edmonds is limited, Conner has plenty of opportunities to smash in this spot. He isn’t quite as reliant on receiving production, and since this is half-PPR scoring, we view him as “safer.”

FULL-SLATE DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings

FLEX: WR Ben Skowronek, Rams ($6,000)

We’re taking a strong gamble with Skowronek since he only has a high of 6.3 FD points this season, but if he has anywhere close to 10 fantasy points, he could pay off in this lineup with expensive studs. He has to do just enough to not fall completely flat in a favorable matchup for WRs to be a viable play. Sometimes, winning lineups are merely the result of unexpected opportunities from injuries or other factors, so we’ll sign up to take that chance.

SUNDAY-ONLY DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings

FLEX: WR A.J. Green, Cardinals ($8,000)

Green has only averaged 5.6 FD points over his past three games, but he’s another player who’s desperate for his first career playoff win, and we’ll roll the dice for a vintage AJG performance. If Murray and the Cardinals’ offense is rolling, you’d have to think Green will be heavily involved.


Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency/news feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.

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Adam Pearce on working with Brock Lesnar

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WWE official Adam Pearce believes Brock Lesnar complimented him when the Beast named a moose after him.

Pearce, a former five-time NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, appeared on WWE’s The Bump this week. There, he discussed his role in making marquee matches, the upcoming Royal Rumble event and his run-ins with the Beast Incarnate.

In one highlight, Pearce recalled how, on a recent episode of SmackDown, Lesnar walked up to him and revealed that he hunted a moose and named it after the WWE official.

“My friend Brock,” said Pearce. “(…) I’m thinking about that moment where you’re up against the wall and you’re staring into the eyes of the Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar, who’s just told you that he has killed, skinned, and gutted, the guts weighed very similar to the bodyweight that I carry today and he named this moose for me.”

Looking back on this incident, Pearce joked that he took the comment as a compliment, as he noted that nobody else has a moose named after them.

“I want the moose, I want it hung on my office wall,” Pearce continued. “I think there’s a good spot for it in here. But yeah, I don’t think I know anybody on planet earth that’s had a moose named after him. So I’m going to take that as a compliment and then get as far away from it as I can.”

Brock Lesnar will face Bobby Lashley at WWE Royal Rumble

The hunter has become the hunted, as Brock Lesnar is in Bobby Lashley’s crosshairs. The All Mighty will challenge The Beast Incarnate for the WWE Championship at WWE Royal Rumble. Until now, the two titans have never crossed paths with each other in singles competition during their time in the business.

The wrestling world is already buzzing about this dream match, and the build for the bout officially started on RAW this past week. Lesnar and Lashley had a heated verbal confrontation, and the champion cracked a few jokes at his challenger’s expense. Fans can expect to see the two stars continue to heat up this contest in the coming weeks.

What do you think about Pearce’s comments? Are you looking forward to seeing Lashley face Lesnar? Sound off below.


While using the quote from this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling.


Could another tag team split up soon? Click here to find out.

Edited by Colin Tessier

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