Sat, 22 Jan 2022

Australia cancels visa, Novak Djokovic facing deportation

Field Level Media
15 Jan 2022, 00:40 GMT+10

Novak Djokovic faces deportation following the cancellation of his visa in Australia, the latest twist in the pre-tournament saga of the No. 1 seed in the men's draw for next week's Australian Open.

The Serbian and World No. 1, Djokovic is appealing Friday's ruling from immigration minister Alex Hawke. It's the second time Australia has canceled the vsia and the same judge, Anthony Kelly in the Federal Circuit Court, is expected to hear Djokovic's latest appeal.

Kelly ruled in Djokovic's favor earlier this week, setting the 34-year-old free from a quarantine hotel and clearing a path for him to play in the Grand Slam event set to begin Jan. 17.

The Australian Open draw was promptly delayed just before it began on Thursday, but after behind-the-scenes discussion, resumed not long after with Djokovic in the field and taking the top seed. The top half of the men's draw is scheduled to play Monday.

Whether Djokovic's appeal is heard in that short of a window is uncertain.

He is expected to be returned to immigration detention and meet the Australian Border Patrol that flagged his initial entry into the country on Jan. 5. Djokovic previously spent four nights at the quarantine hotel.

Australia has seen COVID-19 positive rates explode -- 130,000 new cases were announced Friday -- despite a vaccination rate over 90 percent. Prime minister Scott Morrison said

Djokovic is in the country on a special media exemption from tournament organizers, but is not vaccinated.

Hawke said he made his decision based on "health and ... on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so."

Attorneys for Djokovic said in the appeal the grounds for canceling his visa were "patently irrational."

--Field Level Media

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