Thursday, January 20, 2022

Visa canceled Australia sends Djokovic home

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In the Corona thriller about his entry, the responsible minister made a decision: Novak Djokovic will have his visa withdrawn again. This means that he cannot take part in this year’s Australian Open.

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has declared Serbian tennis pro Novak Djokovic’s visa invalid in a personal decision. This was well justified and “in the public interest,” said the minister on Friday. Participation of the world number one in the Australian Open, which begins Monday, is not yet ruled out because the 34-year-old may be able to lodge further appeals, but it has become unlikely. Unvaccinated against the coronavirus, Djokovic is a controversial figure in the country that has imposed tough rules since the pandemic began.

The authorities had already refused Djokovic entry when he arrived last week and classified the documents presented for his TUE as insufficient. However, because he was not given enough time to react, a judge overturned the entry ban during a court hearing on Monday. Djokovic has been training normally since then and preparing for the Australian Open. He is the defending champion there. On Thursday, the Serbian Miomir Kecmanović was drawn as his opponent for the first round.

The 34-year-old was refused entry to Australia at Melbourne Airport last week because he was not vaccinated against the corona virus and the authorities did not have sufficient documentation for his medical exemption. However, because the border officials had not given him the agreed time to clarify the matter, the court overturned the decision.

The Australian government had announced that it was considering further steps to revoke Djokovic’s visa. The case also became a severe stress test for the country’s politics, after Australia spent many months in tough lockdowns and many citizens of the country were not allowed to enter their home country for a long time because of the strict rules.

On Wednesday, Djokovic denied intentional misrepresentation and endangering other people, but acknowledged mistakes in dealing with his positive test result. He primarily defended himself against two allegations via Instagram: he neither intentionally gave false information about his travel behavior in the 14 days before the flight to the host country of the Australian Open, nor did he attend an event in December knowing that he had tested positive for the corona virus Children visited and moved there without a mask.

Djokovic described the “misinformation” that needed to be corrected as “hurting and upsetting to my family”. However, he admitted that he already knew about his positive test result in an interview with the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe” on December 18 and still did not cancel the appointment. “Although I went home after the interview and went into isolation for the prescribed period, on reflection that was a miscalculation and I recognize that I should have postponed that commitment,” he wrote.

Djokovic described the fact that his entry form incorrectly stated that he had not traveled in the 14 days before his flight to Australia as a “human error” by his agent, “which was certainly not intentional”.

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