Even now, this saga is far from over. Djokovic has once again declined to swallow his medicine and finally fly home. His lawyers swung back into action, presenting Judge Anthony Kelly – the same man who reprieved him on Monday – with a fresh set of arguments. It is not in his nature to back down from any kind of challenge, but by hanging around, Djokovic risks further penalties. Having already trashed his reputation in Australia, he could still be subject to a three-year discretionary ban from these borders – a sentence regularly handed out to those who attempt to enter the country without the proper paperwork.
And then there is the Australian Open to think about. At this stage, Djokovic’s withdrawal would lead to a reshuffle of the top seeds, with world No 5 Andrey Rublev taking over his place in the top line of the draw. But things become more and more complicated as we move closer to the start of play, scheduled for 11am on Monday.
The 400-odd other tennis pros in Australia have mostly accepted a back seat to Djokovic’s in-out immigration drama over the past week. On Tuesday, Andy Murray expressed frustration that he was facing questions over this political wrangle rather than his own dominant victory over Viktor Durasovic. The longer we keep arguing over the rights and wrongs of Djokovic’s case, the less oxygen remains in the room for the actual sport.