- The 34-year-old tennis star Novak Djokovic cannot take part in the Australian Open.
- Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke exercised his right to revoke his visa again.
- Thus, the tennis star could be expelled. Djokovic can appeal the decision in court.
Novak Djokovic has again had his visa withdrawn by the Australian authorities. This was announced by Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke. Participation of the world number one in the Australian Open, which begins Monday, is not yet ruled out because the 34-year-old may be able to lodge further appeals. But it is considered unlikely.
“Today I exercised my right to void Mr. Novak Djokovic’s visa,” Hawke said in a statement, “on the basis that it is in the public interest to do so.”
The Migration Act
Under the 1958 directive, the Secretary of State for Immigration can withdraw a visa if a person poses a risk – such as a health risk – to the Australian population. The power to annul is enshrined in Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act.
According to the law, tennis pro Djokovic can no longer apply for a visa for Australia “except under certain circumstances” for three years. “Certain circumstances include compelling circumstances affecting the interests of Australia or compelling circumstances affecting the interests of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen,” the ministry said.
He did not take the decision lightly and carefully checked all the documents that the immigration authorities, the Australian border guard and Djokovic himself had presented to him.
Djokovic would face Miomir Kecmanovic
The authorities had already refused Djokovic entry upon arrival last week and classified the documents presented for his TUE as insufficient. However, because he was not given enough time to react, a judge overturned the entry ban during a court hearing on Monday.
Djokovic has been training normally since then and preparing for the Australian Open. There he is the defending champion, on Thursday the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic was drawn as his opponent for the first round.
The dispute at a glance
On January 5, the 34-year-old was refused entry into the country because he was not vaccinated against the corona virus and the authorities did not have sufficient documentation for his medical exemption.
Therefore he was transferred to a hotel for people who had to leave the country. Then, on January 10, a Melbourne court ruled in favor of the 34-year-old tennis star, ordering his release from the deportation facility. The reason: the border officials would not have given Djokovic the agreed time for clarification.
But there are still inconsistencies: the tennis star argued for an entry permit during his accommodation with a positive corona test from mid-December. He was later accused of appearing in public at exactly that time despite a positive corona test because of a media appointment and thus violating the regulations in Serbia and thus endangering others.
On Wednesday, Djokovic denied intentional misrepresentation and endangering other people, but acknowledged mistakes in dealing with his positive test result. He primarily defended himself against two allegations via Instagram: he neither intentionally gave false information about his travel behavior in the 14 days before the flight to Australia, nor did he, knowing that he had a positive corona test, attend an event with children in December and go there moved without a mask.
On closer reflection, that was a misjudgment.
Djokovic described the “misinformation” that needed to be corrected as “hurting and upsetting to my family”. However, he admitted that he already knew about his positive test result in an interview with the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe” on December 18 and still did not cancel the appointment. “Although I went home after the interview and went into isolation for the prescribed period, on reflection that was a miscalculation and I recognize that I should have postponed this commitment,” he wrote.
Djokovic described the fact that his entry form incorrectly stated that he had not traveled in the 14 days before his flight to Australia as a “human error” by his agent, “which was certainly not intentional”.
SRF reporter Denise Langenegger live on site
“There was a murmur through the hall,” says Denise Langenegger, describing the mood. The SRF reporter was in the media center at the Tennis Center in Melbourne when the decision became known. You’ve heard statements like: “I knew it!” Or: “Oh, no, that can’t be true!”
Novak Djokovic was not arrested. Langenegger assumes that he is staying in the house he rented as a place to stay during the tournament. He could stay there until the interview with the immigration authorities takes place on Saturday. “It is assumed that his lawyers will now appeal. You are in talks with the government officials. They hope that there will be a decision by Sunday because the tournament starts on Monday.” Denise Langenegger thinks it’s unlikely that Djokovic can still take part in the tournament.
As far as the mood in Australia’s population is concerned, the journalist points to a survey of 60,000 people by various newspapers. 83 percent of respondents said Djokovic had no right to stay in Australia.
SRF reporter Denise Langenegger