World number one Novak Djokovic’s visa has been sensationally cancelled by the Australian government meaning he will be deported ahead of next week’s Australian Open.
The nine-time Australian Open champion was hoping to challenge for a record-breaking 21st men’s major title in Melbourne but those hopes have been dashed.
Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke confirmed on Friday afternoon that Djokovic’s visa had been cancelled as it was in the public interest to do so.
Djokovic was retained upon his arrival in Australia given his vaccination status before winning an appeal in the Federal Court earlier this week releasing him from detention.
However, Hawke exorcised the government’s extraordinary powers on Friday to overrule the Federal Court decision, deeming the Serbian as a risk to public health and safety.
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.
This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.
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 Australias borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. I thank the officers of the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force who work every day to serve Australias interests in increasingly challenging operational environments.
Djokovic raised ire after he was photographed with children after testing positive to COVID-19 last month in Serbia, this week admitting that was a mistake.
The 34-year-old had been part of Thursday’s Australian Open draw, pitted against countryman Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round but he is certain to miss that.