MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Australia has revoked the visa of world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic on health and public order grounds. The Serbian player’s lawyers are expected to challenge the government’s decision in court.
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he had canceled Djokovic’s visa for “reasons of health and good order, on the grounds that it was in the public interest to do so”.
He said his decision was made after careful consideration of information provided by the “Home Office, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic”.
The tennis star had been granted a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination rules by two independent health panels organized by the Australian tennis authorities and the Victorian state government.
However, he was arrested on arrival at Melbourne Airport on January 5 by Australian Border Force officials. His visa cancellation was overturned by a federal court judge on Monday.
However, his visa has now been revoked for the second time.
A tennis fan in Melbourne thinks it was the right decision.
“Ah listen, I think it’s for the best,” the fan said. “The more you think about it, the tensions that would have been there, the boos from the crowd, the passionate fans on his side – I just think it could… potentially cause problems, personally, unhappy in the whole saga is. So, I think it’s the right decision and we can hopefully move on.”
Djokovic said he contracted the coronavirus last month, which entitled him to apply for a medical exemption. However, Australian border officials had said the tennis star failed to comply with immigration regulations.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open title nine times.
Had he triumphed at this year’s tournament, he would have become the most successful men’s Grand Slam champion with 21 titles.