Djokovic's Australian Saga: Minister Explains Why No 1's Visa Was Cancelled Again

© AFP 2022 / MARTIN KEEPNovak Djokovic of Serbia attends a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 14, 2022
Novak Djokovic of Serbia attends a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 14, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.01.2022
On Friday, Australia revoked Novak Djokovic's visa for the second time despite the tennis star having already been drawn for the first round of the Australian Open which is meant to kick off on Monday.
Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told reporters on Saturday that he had decided to cancel Novak Djokovic's visa because if the world's No 1 tennis player were to remain in the country riots could allegedly result and others might feel free to refuse the coronavirus vaccination.

"I consider that Mr Djokovic's ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission", Hawke argued.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic's father Srdjan (R) and mother Dijana hold a press conference in Belgrade, on January 10, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.01.2022
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He described Djokovic as "a person of influence and status", adding that his present stay in Australia may also "encourage others to disregard or act inconsistently with public health advice and policies" in the country.

The immigration minister spoke after he announced on Friday that he had exercised his power under Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Djokovic "on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so".

The 34-year-old tennis star, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, had his visa revoked after he arrived in Melbourne last week to defend his Australian Open title.
Djokovic was then detained at the Park Hotel in Melbourne as he awaited deportation, but he was released after a court overturned the visa cancellation on Monday.
Defending men's champion Serbia's Novak Djokovic practices on Margaret Court Arena ahead of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.01.2022
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This was followed by the 34-year-old apologising for his agent mistakenly ticking a box saying Djokovic had not travelled in the two weeks before arriving in Australia. The tennis star, who was returned to detention, had been drawn for the Australian Open's first round, which opens on 17 January.
The No 1 was earlier accused of skirting COVID-19 rules that require all tennis players to present proof of vaccination or a medical exemption. Djokovic's lawyers argued that he had been granted an exemption after having the disease in December.
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