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Djokovic's visa canceled again, Australian officials seeking to detain tennis star

The Australian immigration minister revoked the athlete's visa days ahead of the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic | Shutterstock

January 14, 2022 1:58pm

Updated: January 14, 2022 1:58pm

Novak Djokovic's Australian visa was once again revoked Friday, placing his ability to compete in the Australian Open in peril.

Alex Hawke, the country's immigration minister,  announced his decision following several days of consideration.

"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," Hawke said in a statement.

The ruling comes after an Australian judge determined earlier this week that the Australian Border Force had been "unreasonable" in its decision to cancel the star player's initial visa to enter the country.

Immigration officials will attempt to interview the tennis player on Saturday morning (Australian time) and will detain him following the conversation.

An attorney for Djokovic is contesting the legitimacy of that plan. During an emergency court hearing on Friday, Djokovic's lawyer, Nick Wood, called the reasoning for the player's visa revocation "patently irrational."

"Has your Honor had time to read the reasons of the minister?" Wood asked Judge Anthony Kelly, going on to explain that minister Hawke had cited Djokovic's presence in the country as having the potential to "excite anti-vaccination sentiment."

Under current Australian law, all international visitors must be vaccinated, which Djokovic is not, excluding those with a medical exemption. Prior to his arrival, two independent panels associated with Tennis Australia and the government of Victoria had granted Djokovic an exemption because he had been infected with COVID-19 in December. 

Djokovic arrived in Australia last week hoping to compete for his 21st Grand Slam title during the upcoming tournament, for which he is the No. 1 seed. He is currently ranked the best tennis player in the world.