Novak Djokovic has been refused his VISA permitting him to enter Australia to participate in this year's Australian Open for a second time. Though this seems like it will be a definitive decision...
A rollercoaster of emotions
After having his legal team launch an appeal to grant him the right to play in the tournament, Melbourne Federal Circuit Court eventually overturned his visa cancellation. But his legal victory, in hindsight, was rather short-lived.
Australia's immigration minister, Alex Hawke, took matters into his own hands and has decided to personally veto the decision to allow Djokovic into the country. Deportation is now the most probable outcome for the world's number one tennis player. In a statement, Hawke said:
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.
The decision follows 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.
What are Djokovic's options?
With only a few days before the start of the tournament, Djokovic's only way of defending his title is to launch yet another appeal. Logistically speaking, this gives the Serb's lawyers only a few days to prepare and have everything settled before his first match, which was scheduled to take place early next week.
If the decision is final and his appeal does not sway the judge, he could potentially also face a three-year ban from the country.