Timeline: The Djokovic saga
The Australian Open begins Monday (Sunday in the U.S.), and No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic's status is still up in the air.
Where it stands: Djokovic faces deportation after his visa was revoked for a second time by the Australian government on Friday. A lawyer for Djokovic has asked a court for an injunction preventing his removal from Australia.
How we got here: The past 10 days should have been about the World No. 1's quest for a record-breaking 21st major victory. Instead, they've snowballed into one of the biggest off-court tennis sagas ever.
- Jan. 4: Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, announces he's heading to Australia with a medical exemption. Days later, we learn he got the exemption because he tested positive for COVID in December.
- Jan. 5: Upon his arrival in Melbourne, he's held in the airport — in a room guarded by police, according to his father — due to a mistake with his visa application.
- Jan. 6: After eight hours of airport detention, Djokovic's visa is canceled and he's denied entry to the country for failing to meet the exemption requirements.
- Jan. 9: While he is cooped up in an immigration detention hotel — and inadvertently drawing widespread attention to refugees — Djokovic's parents join a rally in Belgrade, Serbia, demanding his release.
- Jan. 10: Djokovic's visa is reinstated on appeal after arguing that his positive test in December superseded the country's vaccination requirement. Hours later, he's out on the courts practicing.
- Jan. 12: In a statement, Djokovic blames his agent for "tick[ing] the incorrect box" on his travel declaration, which falsely claimed he didn't visit any countries in the prior two weeks.
- Jan. 12: In the same statement, he admits to having attended an in-person interview after his positive test in December. He calls the breach of protocols "an error of judgement," while the Serbian Prime Minister calls it "a clear violation."
- Jan. 13: The tournament draw is revealed, and it features Djokovic as the No. 1 seed, even as immigration officials continue to investigate him.
The bottom line: 255 men and women are currently looking at the draw and preparing for the year's first major tournament, but the 256th is all anyone can seem to talk about.