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Less than a week after tennis star Novak Djokovic was cleared to play in the Australian Open, the Aussie government has returned serve, revoking his visa and putting his status for the Grand Slam event in doubt.
The decision by government officials to pull Djokovic’s visa for a second time this month stems from Djokovic’s unvaccinated status. He’s now not only in danger of missing the tournament, which starts Monday, but he also faces deportation.
#BREAKING Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa “on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so”.
— Karen Sweeney (@karenlsweeney) January 14, 2022
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is responsible for taking Djokovic’s visa for a second time, and he cited the “public’s interest” as his reason for keeping Djokovic away from the clay.
“Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Hawke said in a statement.
“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic. The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Australian Open requires fans, players and trainers to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Djokovic is not vaxxed and previously sought a medical exemption because he has recently recovered from the coronavirus.
Until Friday, that was a good enough reason to give the No. 1 player in tennis a shot at winning his second consecutive open and tenth all-time.
Less than three hours after Hawke handed down his harsh and unwarranted ruling, Djokovic’s legal representatives filed an injunction. A judge then ruled that Djokovic will need to attend a Saturday immigration hearing.
Laughable as it may seem, the 2022 Australian Open is scheduled to begin with or without The Joker on Monday morning. The ball is in the judge’s court.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF