Novak Djokovic has had his visa revoked and is at risk of being deported again due to his COVID-19 vaccine status days before the start of the Australian Open despite the government’s decision in his favor earlier in the week.
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Friday he had used his discretion for reasons of public interest to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
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Djokovic’s team were scheduled to appeal to the Federal Circuit and Family Court, which they successfully did earlier in the week for procedural reasons when his visa was first canceled when he landed at a Melbourne airport. Hawke said he made his judgment “carefully”.
“Today, I exercised my power under section 133C (3) of the Migration Law to cancel the visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic for reasons of health and good order, on the grounds that ‘it was in the public interest to do so,’ Hawke said in a statement.
“The Morrison government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison added: “They rightly expect the outcome of these sacrifices (the Australians have consented) to be protected. The pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian, but we have stood together and saved lives and livelihoods.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC ‘PLAYS BY HIS OWN RULES’, SAYS AUSTRALIAN OPEN FAVORITE
“Our strong border protection policies have kept Australians safe, before COVID and now during the pandemic. “
Djokovic is not vaccinated against the coronavirus. All Australian Open participants and travelers entering the country must be vaccinated unless they are given a medical exemption.
A medical exemption has been approved by the state government of Victoria and Tennis Australian, allowing her to obtain a visa to travel. However, the Australian Border Force rejected the medical exemption and canceled his visa when he landed in Melbourne on January 5.
The 20-time major champion has been locked in a Melbourne immigration hotel until a judge overturns the decision. He was then selected as the No. 1 seed in the tournament and was able to train at the Rod Laver Arena before the Open.
The saga has eclipsed the tournament.
“It’s not a good situation for anyone. I just want this to resolve obviously. I think it would be good for everyone if it did. It just seems like it’s been dragging on for quite a long time now – not great. for tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak, “said British tennis star Andy Murray.
Should Djokovic be forced to withdraw from the event before the order of play is announced for Day 1, Grand Slam rules state that No.5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia would move in his place to face Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia.
If Djokovic steps down after the schedule is published, he will be replaced by a “lucky loser”. The so-called “lucky loser” is a player who loses in the qualifying tournament but enters the main draw due to the retirement of another player.
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The Australian Open starts on Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.