Novak Djokovic’s visa was refused for the second time by the Australian government on Friday, citing the world tennis no. 1’s lack of COVID-19 vaccination as a risk to the community.
The judgement opens the possibility of a second court battle for the Serbian tennis great to be permitted to stay and compete in the Australian Open for a record 21st major tennis title, but time is running out with the tournament commencing on Monday.
After a judge quashed an earlier revocation and released Djokovic from immigration detention on Monday, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
In a statement, Hawke stated, “Today I exercised my discretion under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel Mr Novak Djokovic’s visa on health and good order grounds, on the premise that it was in the public interest to do so.”
Hawke stated that the government is “dedicated to protecting Australia’s borders,” particularly in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.
He claimed he had “seriously studied” evidence from Djokovic, the Australian Border Force, and the Department of Home Affairs.
Djokovic would be unable to obtain a visa to visit Australia for three years under the provision of the Migration Act that the minister used to exercise his power to cancel the visa, unless there are compelling circumstances that damage Australia’s interests.
Djokovic, the incumbent Australian Open winner, was seeded first in the draw on Thursday and was set to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in his first round on Monday or Tuesday.
The saga has sparked a global debate over vaccination choice, raised doubts about Australia’s botched handling of Djokovic’s visa, and turned into a thorny subject for Prime Minister Scott Morrison as he bids for re-election.
When the tennis player, a vaccine sceptic, declared last week that he would be travelling to Melbourne for the Australian Open with a medical exemption from the need that visitors be immunised against COVID-19, he sparked great outrage in Australia.
In the previous two weeks, Australia has experienced some of the world’s longest lockdowns, has a 90 percent adult vaccination rate, and has seen a runaway Omicron outbreak bring nearly a million cases.
When he arrived in Australia, Australian Border Force officers determined that his exemption was illegal, and he was imprisoned in an immigration detention hotel for several days among asylum seekers.
On Monday, a judge granted him permission to remain on the grounds that officials had been “unreasonable” in their handling of his interrogation, which took place in the middle of the night and lasted seven hours.
A error in Djokovic’s entrance declaration relating to international travel in the previous two weeks, which he blamed on his agent, did not help his cause. He also said that while sick with COVID-19, he should have rescheduled an interview and photoshoot for a French newspaper on Dec. 18.
According to an online poll conducted by the News Corp media organisation, 83 percent of people support the government’s attempt to deport the tennis star.
“He should absolutely leave. He hasn’t done the proper thing and is being a little arrogant about it “Venus Virgin Tomarz, 45, a Melbourne resident, agreed.