Djokovic to stay in Australia until at least Monday

Novak Djokovic will spend at least the next 72 hours in a Melbourne hotel before the next hearing in his fight to overturn a ban on entering Australia is held on Monday.

The Serbian is now holed up in a hotel room, near Melbourne Park, after having his visa cancelled when he arrived in Australia late on Wednesday.

At a hearing yesterday, representatives for the Serbian champion and for the Minister for Immigration reached agreement that no move would be made to deport the 20-time major winner before Monday's hearing in a Federal court.

The hearing will be a week before the start of the 2022 Australian Open, a tournament in which Djokovic was pressing for a 10th title in Melbourne and a record for men of 21 Grand Slam titles.

After a hearing earlier in the day was adjourned, the matter reopened in the early evening to consider procedural matters.

Earlier, Judge Anthony Kelly had asked lawyers when the Australian Open was to begin and when the nine-time Australian Open champion was scheduled to play his first match.

Kelly said he was open to Djokovic giving evidence remotely from immigration detention. He also warned he would not be swayed by a Tennis Australia preference that the matter be resolved by Tuesday.

"If I can say with the respect necessary, the tail won't be wagging the dog here," he said.

Nick Wood, who is representing Djokovic, said he was available to discuss his client's plight with authorities, noting that solving the visa issue was critical.

"As I sit here, the absence of a visa, if the cancellation decision is valid, is an insuperable obstacle to Mr Djokovic competing in the tournament," Wood said.

Last February, ahead of his successful Australian Open defence, Djokovic quarantined in a luxury hotel in Adelaide and was able to train at the famous Memorial Drive tennis club during his stint in isolation.

In contrast, the immigration hotel where the 34-year-old is now being held, just north Melbourne's central business district, has few luxury trappings and is home to detainees who have been held for differing periods of time.

Meantime, back in Serbia, Djokovic's father, Srdjan, has reacted strongly to the ongoing saga.

He's told a local website that his son has become the symbol and a leader of the libertarian world, and of poor and oppressed nations and people.

"My son has shown that a small and heroic country like Serbia can boast of the world's all-time best tennis player and athlete," he told the Telegraph website.

"They can incarcerate him tonight, shackle him tomorrow, but truth is like water, as it always finds its way.

"Novak is the Spartacus of the new world that doesn't tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy," he said.

"Novak has shown you can achieve anything if you have dreams, and he shares these dreams with billions of people who look up to him."

Djokovic's former mentor Niki Pilic has also not been shy of expressing strong opinion, telling Reuters the situation is "farcical" and a "disgrace", adding that: "Politics have interfered with sports here as it so often does.

"The Australian Prime Minister is trying to please a part of the country's society and improve his poor political rating by saying 'Djokovic can't compete because I said that unvaccinated athletes will be banned from competing'," Pilic said.

"In my opinion it's politically motivated," said the Croatian Pilic, who oversaw the early stages of Djokovic's career as a teenager at his tennis academy in Germany.