Novak Djokovic’s visa canceled again, the Serb faces a 3-year entry ban

After a stay in detention and days of uncertainty, the Serb again saw his visa canceled on Friday, on a ministerial decision.

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It’s the end of a soap opera that will have kept the tennis world (and beyond) in suspense for more than a week. Friday 14 January, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced the cancellation of Novak Djokovic’s visa “for reasons of health and good order, on the grounds that it was in the public interest to do so because of the public interest”. He should therefore not participate in the Australian Open (January 17 to 30), of which he was the three-time men’s title holder.

As immigration minister, Mr Hawke appealed to his “personal power to cancel” a visa, under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act. This “power” gives him the possibility of canceling a visa if he considers that the person concerned presents a risk to “the health, safety or good order of the Australian community” or for “the health or safety of one or more individuals”.

This is a new twist in the case, four days after the court’s decision to release the Serb. The government, which had four hours to challenge this decision on Monday, waited to decide. Strange situation for Novak Djokovic who was able to train at the Rod Laver Arena without ever finally having the opportunity to defend his title.

His speaking out on social networks overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday will not have borne fruit. The man who explained his vaccine exemption by contamination with Covid-19 in mid-December tried somehow to justify his presence at a public event in Serbia, without a mask, and at an interview with journalists from The Team over the same period. But the ax fell.

The Serb should draw a definitive line on his participation in the Australian Open 2022 when he had learned a few hours earlier of the identity of his opponent in the 1st round. Djokovic will therefore have to wait to try to afford a 21st Grand Slam tournament, which would place him at the top of tennis history, ahead of his two historic rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

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