Tennis star Novak Djokovic had his Australian visa canceled by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke three days before the start of the Australian Open “for reasons of health and good order”.
The decision comes shortly after the 34-year-old Serb successfully challenged an earlier attempt by Australia to have his visa revoked.
In a statement on Friday, Mr Hawke said: “Today I exercised my authority under Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel Mr Novak Djokovic’s visa on grounds of health and good order on the basis that it was in the was public interest in it.”
He added that the government was “firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic” and that he had “carefully reviewed” the Djokovic case.
Under this part of the Migration Act, Djokovic faces a three-year ban from leaving Australia unless he can identify compelling circumstances that are in Australia’s interests.
Djokovic’s attorneys are expected to appeal the recent decision in the Federal Circuit and Family Court. But the Serb is running out of time to reverse the move as the Australian Open is due to start on Monday.
The world number one traveled to Melbourne last week to defend his title in the upcoming tournament. Although he is not stung, his exemption from the country’s coronavirus vaccination requirement before his flight was approved by the state of Victoria and Tennis Australia.
However, the Australian Border Force refused his release when he landed in the country, resulting in him spending four nights in hotel detention before the decision was overturned.
The Australian Open champion, who was hoping to secure a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at this year’s tournament, was included in Thursday’s draw. He was drawn in the first round against fellow Serbian player Miomir Kecmanovic.
The saga has prompted widespread anger in Australia, a country that has endured some of the longest lockdowns and toughest border policies in the world. According to a survey by media group News Corp, a total of 83 percent of Australians support the government’s attempts to deport the tennis player.
The uproar surrounding Djokovic intensified when it emerged that there had been a mistake in his travel declaration. The world no.
More to come…