Australia Rejects Djokovic’s Visa Again
January 14, 2022
Australia rejected the visa of Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic for a
second time Friday, something that could keep the world’s top-ranked
men’s tennis player from the Australian Open and likely prompt a second
trip to court.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement that he canceled
Djokovic’s visa “on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it
was in the public interest to do so.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement, “This pandemic has
been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck
together and saved lives and livelihoods. ... Australians have made many
sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of
those sacrifices to be protected.”
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said Friday the policy settings of the
government overall were "crystal clear.” He said on Channel 9’s Today
show, "That is that people who enter Australia who are not Australian
citizens should be double dose vaccinated unless they have a clear and
valid medical exemption against that."
About 90% of Australian adults are vaccinated after enduring long
lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Djokovic’s vaccine
skepticism has met with widespread anger.
Hawke canceled Djokovic’s visa over concerns about the Serbian's medical
exemption from Australia's COVID-19 vaccination rules. Djokovic’s visa
was first canceled upon arrival in Melbourne last week when his
vaccination exemption was rejected.
After being held with other asylum-seekers at an immigration detention
hotel for several days, Djokovic won a legal dispute on procedural
grounds that allowed him to remain in the country.
Djokovic acknowledged earlier this week that errors were made on his
entry documents about his activities in the weeks before traveling to
Serbian star issued a statement Wednesday saying his assistants had
incorrectly declared that he had not traveled anywhere in the 14 days
before departing for Melbourne last week. Reports have surfaced showing
he traveled to Serbia and Spain.
Djokovic also said he did not know he tested positive for COVID-19 on
Dec. 16 until the next day, after he appeared at a tennis event in
Belgrade to present awards to children.
He also acknowledged that he should have canceled a planned magazine
interview and photoshoot the day after learning of his status.
The defending champion was included Thursday in the Australian Open draw
as the top seed for the tournament that opens Monday.
Djokovic drew unseeded fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic for his opening
match that is expected to take place Monday or Tuesday.