Tennis: Novak Djokovic's Australian visa canceled again

The Australian visa of world tennis number one Novak Djokovic, who wanted to enter the country without being vaccinated against Covid-19, has been canceled for the second time, announced Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday.

This decision was taken “on health and public order bases,” the minister said in a statement. The Australian government “is strongly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic”, he added.

This second visa cancellation implies that the Serbian player, who was aiming for a 21 record Grand Slam title at the Australian Open which begins on Monday, will be banned from entering the country for three years, except in certain circumstances.

The 34-year-old player’s visa had already been canceled for the first time on January 5 when he arrived in Melbourne, and Djokovic was then placed in a detention center with a view to his expulsion.

The tennis player’s lawyers had however won a resounding victory on January, in getting a judge to reinstate his visa and order his immediate release. Since then, Djokovic has been training for the tournament, and was to face his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, 78 world player in the first round.

But the Minister of Immigration retained the possibility of canceling the visa again under its discretionary power.