The Australian government has canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa again, just days before the start of the Australian Open tennis tournament, which has won the world’s leading male player nine times.
Alex Hawke, the Minister of Immigration and a close ally of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, said: “Today I exercised my power under section 133C (3) of the Migration Act to obtain the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on cancel health and good order, on the grounds that it was in the public interest to do so. ”
Hawke is expected to move to deport Djokovic, who entered the country as an unvaccinated non-resident last week. The player received a medical exemption to play in the Grand Slam event after contracting Covid-19 in December. But the Australian Border Force argued that it had not complied with the country’s strict policies.
After five days of deliberations, Hawke said on Friday: “The Morrison Government is committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
This is the second time the Australian government has moved to deport the unvaccinated tennis star since he arrived in the country. Monday, Djokovic won an appeal in federal court against the decision by the country’s border force to cancel his visa on procedural grounds.
However, documents submitted by the Serbian player to win that appeal further investigated his actions and the credibility of his vaccination exemption used to enter Australia.
Djokovic acknowledge Wednesday that his agent had incorrectly filled out a travel statement and that he had attended an interview and photo shoot in Serbia despite knowing that he had tested positive for Covid.
A poll conducted by News Corp among 61,000 people this week revealed that 84 percent of respondents supported the tennis player’s deportation.
Following Djokovic’s successful appeal, the Australian government warned that Hawke could call on his ministerial powers to cancel the visa again.
Djokovic, the defending Australian Open champion vying to become the most successful player in the history of the sport, is expected to appeal against the decision.
The controversy has intensified criticism of Morrison in an election year. His government is already struggling to contain Covid-19 cases and alleviate supply chain problems caused by the pandemic, which has led to empty shelves in supermarkets.