The ongoing saga over whether Novak Djokovic will be able to compete in the Australia Open just got a new development. Djokovic now faces deportation again as the Australian government revoked his visa for a second time. The No. 1-ranked tennis player has been unsuccessfully trying to compete in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated for COVID-19.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Friday he canceled the 34-year-old tennis player’s visa on public interest grounds, says AP News. This happens just three days before play begins at the Australia Open. Djokovic’s lawyers were expected to appeal at the Federal Circuit and Family Court, which they had successfully done the week before on procedural grounds when his visa was first canceled after he landed at a Melbourne airport. Deportation from Australia usually leads to a three-year ban on returning to the country. This would mean that the next time Djokovic would be allowed to compete at the Australian Open would be when he’s 37.
Everyone at the Australia Open, including players, support teams, and spectators, is required to be vaccinated for the illness caused by the coronavirus. Djokovic is not inoculated and had sought a medical exemption on the grounds that he said he had COVID-19 in December. The exemption was approved at first by the Victoria state government and Tennis Australia, allowing him to obtain a visa to travel. However, the Australian Border Force rejected the exemption and canceled his visa when he landed in Melbourne on Jan. 5.