The Australian visa of tennis world number one Novak Djokovic, who entered the country without being vaccinated against Covid-19, has been canceled for the second time, announced Friday January 14 the Minister of Immigration, Alex Hawke. This decision was made “on health and public order grounds”, 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.
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This second visa cancellation implies that the Serbian player, who was aiming for a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open which begins on Monday January 17, will be banned from entering the country for three years, except in certain circumstances.
Australian authorities also intend to order the return of the world number one in detention as of Saturday morning, government lawyer Stephen Lloyd announced on Friday. The government wants the Serb to be released from detention only to attend, in the offices of his lawyers and under the supervision of border police officers, the online court hearings concerning his case, the lawyer said .
Djokovic will not be expelled from Australia until justice has been finally pronounced, had previously assured Stephen Lloyd during a hearing before a judge in Melbourne. This Victorian judge, Anthony Kelly, announced on Friday that he was relinquishing responsibility in favor of Australian federal justice, despite the objections of the player’s lawyers who said they feared a slowdown in the procedure.
Novak Djokovic was training for the tournament
The 34-year-old’s visa had already been canceled for the first time on January 5 when he arrived in Melbourne, and Novak Djokovic was then placed in a detention center for deportation.
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The tennis player’s lawyers had however won a resounding victory on January 10, obtaining from a judge that he restore his visa and order his immediate release. Since then, Novak Djokovic has been training for the tournament, and was due to face his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, 78, in the first round.and world player.
But the Minister of Immigration retained the possibility of canceling the visa again under his discretionary power.