The Australian Minister of Immigration, Alex Hawke, has cancelled Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa, on Friday, ahead of the Australian Open. Here’s the full statement from the authorities.
Initially, Djokovic’s visa was cancelled by the delegate of the home affairs minister, stating that the tennis star’s recent infection did not exempt him from getting vaccinated. Since he was unvaccinated, it was determined that Djokovic posed a threat to public health.
However, in a ruling, a federal court judge restored Djokovic’s visa, which was hailed as a victory and allowing justice to prevail, by Djokovic’s parents. At the same time, government lawyers had warned him that the Australian immigration minister could still exercise his positional power to revoke the player’s visa. Hawke’s current decision, which comes after much deliberation, indicates that he is satisfied the initial cancellation was in the public interest. This decision means that Djokovic cannot be given a visa for Australia for three years, while offshore, and the cancellation issue is classified under the adverse decision under section 133C(3).
Earlier, on Wednesday, Djokovic admitted that there was an ‘administrative mistake’ on part of his agent when he declared that the tennis star had not travelled two weeks before his flight to Australia. Further, he said there was an ‘error of judgment’ when he didn’t isolate after testing COVID-19 positive on December 16.
Djokovic has his heart set on competing in the Australian Open as the Serbian professional is currently tied with world greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in having 20 Grand Slam titles to his name, including nine Australian Opens. Competing in this tournament would give him the chance at a possible 21st Grand Slam win.
With Djokovic currently out of the tournament, the Australian Open is in a state of chaos since the Serb had been drawn as the number one seed earlier this week. If Djokovic is out of the tournament, his spot will automatically go to No 5 seed, Andrey Rublev, the Russian pro with eight ATP singles titles. Djokovic is certain to appeal this decision, which is likely to play out in the coming days.