Novak Djokovic faces deportation following the cancellation of his Australian visa, the latest twist in the pre-tournament saga of the No.1 seed in the men’s draw at next week’s Australian Open.
Serbian and world number 1 Djokovic is appealing Friday’s decision by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. This is the second time Australia has overturned the vsia and the same judge, Anthony Kelly of the Federal Circuit Court, is expected to hear Djokovic’s final appeal.
Kelly ruled in favor of Djokovic earlier this week, releasing the 34-year-old from a hotel quarantine and clearing the way for him to play in the Grand Slam event which is due to start on January 17.
The Australian Open draw was quickly delayed just before it started on Thursday, but after a backstage discussion it resumed shortly afterwards with Djokovic on the court and taking the top seed. The first half of the men’s draw should be played on Monday.
Whether Djokovic’s appeal will be heard in this short time is uncertain.
He is expected to be returned to immigration detention and meet with Australian Border Patrol who reported his initial entry into the country on January 5. Djokovic previously spent four nights at the quarantine hotel.
Australia has seen COVID-19 positive rates soar – 130,000 new cases were announced on Friday – despite having a vaccination rate above 90%. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said
Djokovic is in the country with a special media exemption from tournament organizers, but is not vaccinated.
Hawke said he made his decision based on “health and … on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”
Djokovic’s lawyers said in the appeal that the grounds for revoking his visa were “grossly irrational”.