The decision arrived days after an Australian court reinstated Djokovic’s visa.
Australian authorities on Friday canceled tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa, putting his participation in the Australian Open in doubt.
Alex Hawke, imigration minister, who announced his decision at about 6 p.m. local time, said the Australian government “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders.”
“Today I exercised my strength 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.
Hawke’s decision arrived days after an Australian court reinstated the 34-year-old’s visa, which had been granted with a medical exemption to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
Officials questioned whether Djokovic meet the requirements for that exemption, but estimate Anthony Kelly sided with the tennis star, noting that Djokovic’s medical exemption had been provided with input from an “eminently qualified physician.”
“And the point I’m slightly disturbed about is, ‘What more could this man have done?'” the estimate said on Monday.
Questions had nevertheless lingered, however, about whether Djokovic lied on his Travel Declaration Form. Every traveler arriving in Australia needs to submit the document before entering the country.
At issue were the few weeks prior to Djokovic’s landing in Australia on Jan. 5 from Spain via Dubai. Under Australia’s pandemic measures, the tennis star would have had to stay in Spain for at the minimum 14 days before travelling.
Djokovic on his entry form ticked the box saying he hadn’t traveled during that period. Social media seemed to tell a different story, with at the minimum one post suggesting Djokovic had been in Serbia during those 14 days.
Hawke on Wednesday told ABC News: “Mr. Djokovic’s lawyers have recently provided lengthy further submissions and supporting documentation said to be applicable to the possible cancellation of Mr Djokovic’s visa. Naturally, this will affect the timeframe for a decision.”
The Australian Open begins on Jan. 17. Djokovic has won the tournament the last three years and nine times overall.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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