Novak Djokovic has Australian visa cancelled for second time

By Claire Schofield
Friday, 14th January 2022, 7:46 am
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 7:47 am
Novak Djokovic has had his Australian visa cancelled for a second time (Photo: Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic has had his Australian visa cancelled for a second time (Photo: Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has had his Australian visa cancelled for a second time.

A judge overturned the original decision on Monday (10 January), but the world number had been waiting to find out whether Immigration Minister Alex Hawke would use his powers to reimpose the penalty.

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A statement was released just before 6pm (7am UK time) on Friday (14 January) by Mr Hawke who said he had made the judgement to send Djokovic home “on health and good order grounds”.

He said: “Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act 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.

“This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.

“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.

“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Why was Djokovic’s visa cancelled?

Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on 5 January after being granted an exemption through Tennis Australia from the country’s strict entry rules regarding Covid-19 vaccination on the grounds he had been recently infected with the virus.

However, he was stopped by the Australian Border Force and questioned through the night before being informed that his visa had been cancelled, and was taken to a detention hotel.

The tennis star appealed the decision and five days later a judge ruled in his favour, seemingly freeing him up to play in the Australian Open, which kicks off on Monday (17 January).

While there could yet be a further legal challenge from the world number one, his hopes of winning a 10th title at Melbourne Park and his 21st grand slam crown are at an end.

The 34 year-old headed straight to Melbourne Park after being freed from the hotel on Monday and has practised every day since, including early on Friday morning.

But his hopes of staying in the country faded over the week following revelations about his conduct.

Djokovic admitted he broke self-isolation rules in December after testing positive for Covid-19.

He was photographed at events on the following two days and issued a statement earlier this week admitting he took part in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe at his tennis centre in Belgrade, despite knowing he had the virus.

He said his attendance was an “error of judgement” and admitted he “should have rescheduled” his commitments.

The tennis ace, who is unvaccinated against Covid-19, also admitted to making a false declaration on his travel form before entering Australia, where he was hoping to defend his Australian Open title.

Recent reports suggest the 34-year-old had travelled to Serbia and then to Spain prior to the trip.

Djokovic blamed the mistake regarding his recent travel history on his agent, after the form stated he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his arrival in the country.

In a statement on Wednesday (12 January), he said: “On the issue of my travel declaration, this was submitted by my support team on my behalf – as I told immigration officials on my arrival – and my agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box about my previous travel before coming to Australia.

“This was a human error and certainly not deliberate.

“We are living in challenging times in a global pandemic and sometimes these mistakes can occur.”

This article originally appeared on our sister site, NationalWorld.