The sport saga with Novak Djokovic’s visa is over finally. On Friday, the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has used his discretionary ministerial power to cancel the Djokovic’s visa.
The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the moody explanations given by the tennis star, made the Immigration Office to make the right decision.
The main reason for cancelling an athlete’s visa are the grounds of health and good order, Hawke said. In his a statement on Jan. 14, the top immigration official added 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,” Hawke said.
Commenting on the move, minister said he was carefully considered information provided to him by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.
The cancellation of entry visa comes after days of deliberation about Djokovic’s fate after he won a court case to overturn an earlier visa cancellation. It is not known if the Serbian player will contest the minister’s decision.
Will Australian Open be without its favourite?
A one-week ‘sports saga’ ended with the cancellation of entry visa for Novak Djokovic who used to win in Melbourne. This year, the Grand Slam will be held without its favourite, the experts say.
The world Number One was scheduled to play in the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, January 17. For the moment, Djokovic remains in the Australian Open draw and is due to face fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic early next week. If he is deported, however, his slot will most likely go to Russian player Andrey Rublev.
Meantime, the Committee for Melbourne, which counts among its members the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and Melbourne Park, said lessons must be learnt from the “debacle,” which would reflect poorly on the city’s international reputation as a major events host.
In his turn, PM Morrison responded to the heavy criticism his government has faced for allowing the unvaccinated player into Australia.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected,” Morrison said.