Melbourne: Australia has canceled Men’s tennis World No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic’s visa due to his refusal to be vaccinated.
Djokovic now fears deportation as a result of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision. The 34-year-old Serbian, though, can still file a legal challenge to stay in the nation.
The Australian Open, which begins on Monday, was supposed to feature the world number one in men’s tennis.
“Today I exercised my power… to cancel the visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” the minister said in a statement.
Alex Hawke's statement revoking Djokovic's visa pic.twitter.com/m2Z5LYWiSu
— The Australian (@australian) January 14, 2022
The move also means Djokovic likely to face a three-year ban on obtaining a new Australian visa.
Djokovic’s visa was initially canceled on 6 January, shortly after he arrived in Melbourne, as Australian border Force officers said he “failed to present acceptable proof” for a vaccination exemption.
Some Australians, who had been living under long and tight Covid lockdowns, were outraged that Djokovic had been let in despite being unvaccinated.
He was held, then spent hours at an airport immigration checkpoint and days at an immigration hotel. His visa was reinstated by a judge a few days later, and he was released after a judge ruled that border authorities had broken protocol when he arrived.
Mr. Hawke, though, revoked Djokovic’s visa on Friday evening in Melbourne, citing separate powers in Australia’s Migration Act.
The act will allow him to deport anyone he deems a potential risk to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community”, however, Djokovic can still appeal this.
It came after Djokovic denied making a fraudulent declaration on his travel form, claiming that he had not traveled in the 14 days leading up to his arrival in Australia when he had been to Spain.
He said the mistake was made by his agent, calling it “human error” and adding that it was “not deliberate”.
After testing positive for Covid-19, he also admitted to seeing a journalist and having a photograph.