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Immigration Minster makes visa call on Djokovic amid Australian Open saga


Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa, meaning the world No.1 will not compete at the 2022 Australian Open.

The 34-year-old, a nine-time champion at Melbourne Park, won’t be defending his Australian Open crown as things stand after he was initially granted a medical exemption to compete in the tournament. The Serbian is also facing deportation from Australia.

Djokovic was left in limbo despite winning a Federal Court battle to overturn the Australian government’s decision to revoke his visa on arrival in Melbourne.

Hawke said in a statement on Friday: “Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.

“This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.

“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.

“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In a lengthy statement via Instagram, Djokovic attempted to clarify “misinformation” relating to his positive COVID-19 test in December and apologised for an “error of judgement” after attending an interview with a French journalist while infected with COVID.

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“I want to emphasise that I have tried very hard to ensure the safety of everyone and my compliance with the testing obligations,” he said.

“I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down but did ensure I socially distanced and wore a mask except when my photograph was being taken.

“While I went home after the interview to isolate for the required period, on reflection, this was an error in judgment and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment.”

It’s unknown whether Djokovic and his legal team will appeal the verdict.

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