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Australia cancels Djokovic's visa and prepares his deportation

The Minister for Immigration claims "health reasons" in his statement, although the tennis player's lawyers could appeal the decision
Novak Djokovic

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Three days before the start of the Australian Open, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has decided to cancel Novak Djokovic's visa for the second time in barely a week. 

In the statement that would lead to the Serb's deportation, Hawke said: "I have today exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Immigration Act to cancel Mr Novak Djokovic's visa on the grounds that it is in the public interest to do so on health and policing grounds.

"The (Scott) Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia's borders, especially in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic," the minister said in justifying the move after the Federal Circuit Court ordered the tennis player's release on Monday.

Novak Djokovic Melbourne Australia

It now remains to be seen what the Serbian tennis player's lawyers intend to do. If they abide by the decision and put an end to his stay in Melbourne or, if not, they undertake a legal process so that he can play the first match against another Serb, Miomir Kecmanovic. A litigation that could be delayed beyond the start of the tournament and alter the crossings. 

Djokovic acknowledged in recent days that he had made "human errors" in his entry procedures, claiming, for example, that he had not visited another country in the 14 days prior to his arrival in Australia. Social media and witnesses confirmed with images his presence in Marbella to train in the first days of 2022. 

Novak Djokovic Melbourne Australia

In addition, documents submitted by Serbia claiming that Novak had passed the COVID-19 were called into question by the German press, which revealed that they had been submitted on different dates and in the opposite order to that required. This has further complicated the Serb's record.  

The immigration minister's decision seeks to set an example for a country holding elections this year and struggling with a spike in COVID-19 cases from fewer than 2,000 infections per day in December to nearly 150,000 in early January amid commodity shortages due to infections among essential workers.