For the second time, Australia has revoked Novak Djokovic’s visa, reversing a court decision that had temporarily halted the federal government’s attempt to deport the unvaccinated tennis star.
Just days before the world men’s No. 1 competes in the Australian Open for a record 21st Grand Slam victory, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used special powers to reverse the court verdict. The visa was revoked for health and public safety reasons, as well as because it was in the public interest, he said in a statement on Friday.
Morrison said he couldn’t say much more about the cancellation because of pending legal actions. Djokovic’s lawyers requested during a court on Friday that the sportsman not be arrested until he appeared before border officials on Saturday, following which he would be imprisoned until a hearing as soon as Sunday. Later on Friday, Judge Anthony Kelly granted the request.
The scandal surrounding the Serbian singer has taken on global significance. Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s president, published a statement on Instagram in response to “attacks and pressure against Novak Djokovic and Serbians.” The Balkan leader questioned Australia’s legal system.
“If you wanted to prevent Novak Djokovic from winning the trophy for the tenth time in Melbourne, why didn’t you send him back right away and tell him it’s difficult for him to receive a visa for your country?” Vucic inquired. Despite lingering reservations over his readiness to play, Djokovic was accepted into the Australian Open on Thursday, with the number one seed set to play fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in his first round.
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Djokovic, 34, landed in Melbourne last week in preparation for the Australian Open, which begins in just one week. He hopes to win a record-tying 21st Grand Slam trophy. Officers at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, however, ruled the unvaccinated star had failed to show a valid medical justification for not being vaccinated.
Djokovic’s visa was cancelled, and he was detained at a notorious immigration detention centre, where he would be deported.
Djokovic’s allegation of a positive test on December 16 sparked controversy as it was revealed that he had attended a meeting that day for the Serbian national postal service, which was issuing a stamp series in his honour, despite the fact that it had no relevance on his court case.