Novak Djokovic in limbo again in Australia after second visa revocation

The Serbian’s lawyers managed to activate a court hearing a few hours later, with the aim of having the judge order the government to grant the player a visa. The judge will make a decision on Sunday.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rests at Melbourne Park as questions remain over the legal battle regarding his visa to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022.  REUTERS/Loren Elliott
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rests at Melbourne Park as questions remain over the legal battle regarding his visa to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, January 13, 2022. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is once again in limbo in his bid to play the Australian Open tennis tournament after his visa to stay in the country was revoked. The world number one restarted his legal battle, although the prospects are very uncertain.

Alex Hawke, Australia’s Immigration Minister, used his discretionary powers under the law and announced on Friday night that the 34-year-old’s visa had been revoked.

The Serbian’s lawyers managed to activate a court hearing a few hours later, with the aim of having the judge order the government to grant the player a visa. Local Australian media are skeptical that this is feasible.

Despite that skepticism, Judge Kelly gave Djokovic a small victory on Friday night. The Judge has ordered border officials to not remove Djokovic from Australia while his legal challenge is afoot.

Judge Kelly said Djokovic will be taken into immigration detention after he is interviewed by officials Saturday morning. He will be allowed to stay with his lawyers while they prepare submissions tomorrow, and appear for another hearing on Sunday morning.

Hawke said he canceled the visa on “health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.” His statement added that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Djokovic has not been vaccinated against covid-19, something frowned upon in Australia, whose population was subjected to hundreds of days of strict confinement to mitigate the effects of the virus. Australia is one of the lowest mortality countries in the pandemic, but is facing a surge in cases, 130,000 in the last day.

The probable expulsion from Australia will mean that Djokovic will not be able to defend his title or seek his twenty-first Grand Slam, a goal also held by Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who is tied with the Serb and Switzerland’s Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams.

KEEP READING: