Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced late Friday afternoon that the nine-time Open champion’s visa had been revoked for the second time, less than three days before the start of the grand slam. opening of the year in Melbourne.
It ends the Serbian superstar’s quest to claim a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Open, which Djokovic has dominated since winning his first title in 2008.
After a four-day deliberation, Hawke said he canceled the visa for “reasons of health and good order” and it was in the public interest to do so.
Djokovic should be arrested and returned to a detention center pending deportation or a legal challenge.
“Today I exercised my authority under Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr. Novak Djokovic for reasons of health and good order, on the grounds that ‘it was in the public interest to do so,’ Hawke said in a statement.
“This decision follows Federal Circuit and Family Court orders on January 10, 2022, reversing an earlier rescission decision on grounds of procedural fairness.
“In making this decision, I have carefully considered the information provided to me by the Home Office, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.”
Australian Open organizers will have to rework the draw following the late omission of the top seed, who was due to face fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round next week.
According to Grand Slam regulations, Djokovic’s withdrawal after the draw ends means his place in the draw will go to the No.5 seed Andrey Rublev.
If he retired (or was retired) after the first day’s order of play was published, he would be replaced there by a lucky loser.
With his visa first canceled a week ago when he was sent to a detention hotel awaiting deportation, Djokovic won a stay in Federal Circuit Court last Monday.
He continued to train daily at Melbourne Park, including a Friday morning appearance at Rod Laver Arena.
But that turned out to be only a temporary move, with Hawke using his discretion to send Djokovic packing his bags again.
There is still no guarantee that this will mark the end of the long saga.
Djokovic is said to be determined to continue the legal fight to stay and play with his lawyers preparing to file an immediate injunction against the decision.
The timing of Hawke’s announcement makes the challenge difficult with the first round starting on Monday.
If Djokovic fails to appeal the decision, the law bars him from getting another visa for three years, although this can be revoked.
Djokovic used a recent COVID-19 infection to obtain a medical exemption from vaccination, but was refused entry by Australian Border Force officials and sent to a detention hotel last Thursday.
The 34-year-old did himself no favors when he later admitted in a statement this week that he had provided false information on his travel declaration and blamed his agent for the error.
He said he did not attend any public events after testing positive, but later revealed he conducted a media interview in Serbia when he was knowingly infected, which he described as an “error in judgement”.
-AAP with AP and Reuters
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