MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic faces deportation once more after the Australian authorities revoked his visa for a second time, the newest twist within the ongoing saga over whether or not the No. 1-ranked tennis participant shall be allowed to compete within the Australian Open regardless of being unvaccinated for COVID-19.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke stated Friday he used his ministerial discretion to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public curiosity grounds — simply three days earlier than play begins on the Australian Open, the place Djokovic has gained a document 9 of his 20 Grand Slam titles.
Djokovic’s attorneys have been anticipated to enchantment on the Federal Circuit and Household Court docket, which they already efficiently did final week on procedural grounds after his visa was first canceled when he landed at a Melbourne airport.
Deportation from Australia normally results in a three-year ban on returning to the nation. That might make Djokovic 37 the subsequent time he could be allowed to compete on the Australian Open.
Hawke stated he canceled the visa on “well being and good order grounds, on the premise that it was within the public curiosity to take action.” His assertion added that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s authorities “is firmly dedicated to defending Australia’s borders, notably in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Morrison welcomed Djokovic’s pending deportation, saying Australia had achieved one of many lowest pandemic dying charges, strongest economies and highest vaccination charges on this planet.
“This pandemic has been extremely troublesome for each Australian however we’ve caught collectively and saved lives and livelihoods. … Australians have made many sacrifices throughout this pandemic, they usually rightly anticipate the results of these sacrifices to be protected,” Morrison stated in an announcement. “That is what the Minister is doing in taking this motion right this moment.”
Everybody on the Australian Open — together with gamers, their assist groups and spectators — is required to be vaccinated for the sickness brought on by the coronavirus. Djokovic just isn’t inoculated and had sought a medical exemption on the grounds that he had COVID-19 in December.
That exemption was accredited by the Victoria state authorities and Tennis Australia, apparently permitting him to acquire a visa to journey. However the Australian Border Drive rejected the exemption and canceled his visa when he landed in Melbourne on Jan. 5.
Djokovic spent 4 nights in an immigration detention resort earlier than a decide on Monday overturned that call. That ruling allowed Djokovic to maneuver freely round Australia and he has been training at Melbourne Park to arrange to play in a event he has gained every of the previous three years.
Djokovic has held follow classes daily since he was launched from detention, posting a photograph on social media late Monday of himself together with his group on Rod Laver Area.
He had a scheduled mid-afternoon follow booked for Friday on the event’s important present court docket, however switched his occasions to start out and end early.
Media began gathering on the vehicular entry to the constructing the place Djokovic was reported to be assembly together with his attorneys after the minister’s choice was handed down.
Along with his authorized state of affairs nonetheless in limbo, Djokovic was positioned within the event bracket in Thursday’s draw, slated to face Miomir Kecmanovic in an all-Serbian matchup within the first spherical.
Melbourne-based immigration lawyer Kian Bone stated Djokovic’s attorneys face an “extraordinarily troublesome” process to get court docket orders over the weekend to permit their shopper to play subsequent week.
Talking hours earlier than Hawke’s choice was introduced, Bone stated: “For those who left it any later than he has performed now, I feel from a strategic standpoint, he is actually hamstringing Djokovic’s authorized group, by way of what kind of choices or cures he may acquire.”
Djokovic’s attorneys would wish to go earlier than an obligation decide of the Federal Circuit and Household Court docket, or the next decide of the Federal Court docket, to get two pressing orders. One order could be an injunction stopping his deportation, equivalent to what he gained in court docket final week. The second would drive Hawke to grant Djokovic a visa to play.
“That second order is sort of not precedented,” Bone stated. “Very not often do the courts order a member of the chief authorities to grant a visa.”
Jacqui Lambie, an influential unbiased senator, argued that Djokovic ought to be despatched packing if he had damaged Australia’s vaccine guidelines. However hours earlier than the visa cancellation was introduced, she complained about how lengthy Hawke was taking to achieve a call.
“Why does this maintain dripping out of the faucet? Alex Hawke, the place are you? Lacking in motion?” Lambie requested.
“If you cannot decide on Novak Djokovic, goodness me, how are you guys operating the nation? That is an absolute shambles,” she added.