Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

top
Capital News
Australia's decision to cancel Novak Djokovic's visa for a second time puts the Serbian world number one's dream of a 10th Australian Open title and a record 21st Grand Slam in peril © AFP / MARTIN KEEP

World

Australia cancels Djokovic visa again: immigration minister

Melbourne, Australia, Jan 14 – Australia’s government cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time Friday as it sought to deport the tennis superstar after he arrived in the country without a Covid-19 vaccine.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he acted on “health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hawke said in a statement.

The cancellation effectively means Djokovic would be barred from a new Australian visa for three years, except under certain circumstances.

The visa decision put the Serbian world number one’s dream of a 10th Australian Open title and a record 21st Grand Slam in peril.

Graphic on developments between Novak Djokovic and Australian authorities since he arrived in Melbourne, updated January 14 with Djokovic’s second visa cancellation © AFP / John SAEKI

Djokovic is the tournament’s top seed and had been practising on the Melbourne Park courts a few hours earlier.

The megastar flew into Melbourne airport on January 5 claiming a vaccine exemption because of a positive PCR test result on December 16.

– ‘All fools’ –

Border agents rejected his exemption, tore up his visa and placed him in a notorious Melbourne detention centre where he spent four nights.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The Australian government insists a recent infection does not qualify as a vaccine exemption for foreign nationals trying to enter the country.

Djokovic’s top-flight legal team dramatically overturned the visa decision because border officials at the airport had failed to give him the agreed time to respond.

The second cancellation of Novak Djokovic’s visa effectively means he would be barred from a new Australian visa for three years, except under certain circumstances © AFP / MARTIN KEEP

The visa battle with Djokovic is politically charged in Australia, which has endured nearly two years of some of the toughest coronavirus restrictions in the world.

General elections must be called by May.

Some tennis players say Djokovic should now be allowed to play, but not all have been supportive.

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas criticised his behaviour.

“For sure he has been playing by his own rules,” Tsitsipas said in an interview with Indian broadcaster WION.

Nearly everyone in the Australian Open had been vaccinated, Tsitsipas said. But others “chose to follow their own way which kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools”.

– ‘Misinformation’ –

As the Omicron variant raced through Australia’s population, Djokovic’s actions came under greater scrutiny.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The tennis ace described reports about post-infection outings without a mask in Serbia as “misinformation” in an Instagram post Wednesday.

mmigration Minister Alex Hawke said he acted to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa on “health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so” © AFP / MARTIN KEEP

On the day of his claimed positive test in Serbia, he attended a ceremony to honour him with stamps bearing his image. The following day he attended a youth tennis event. He appeared at both apparently without a mask.

Djokovic said he only received the PCR test result after going to the children’s tennis event on December 17.

But he admitted that he also went ahead with an interview with French sports daily L’Equipe on December 18.

“On reflection, this was an error of judgement and I accept that I should have rescheduled this commitment,” Djokovic said.

The journalist who carried out the L’Equipe interview, Franck Ramella, said he had been unaware at the time of the interview that Djokovic was Covid-positive.

The tennis star also admitted to a mistake on his Australian travel declaration, in which a box was ticked indicating that he had not, or would not, travel in the 14 days before flying to Melbourne.

In fact, social media posts and reports show he flew from Serbia to Spain during that period.

Djokovic blamed his support team for this. “My agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box,” he said.

As Covid-related hospitalisations rise in Melbourne, the Victorian state government said Thursday it would cap capacity at the Australian Open at 50 percent.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Comments
Advertisement

More on Capital News

World

Limassol (Cyprus) (AFP), Jan 14 – The doctor widely credited with helping Novak Djokovic to reach the pinnacle of tennis on Friday criticised Australia...

World

Melbourne (AFP), Jan 12 – Novak Djokovic on Wednesday admitted “errors” in his travel papers and for not isolating after a claimed coronavirus infection,...

World

Melbourne (AFP), Jan 9 – World tennis number one Novak Djokovic won a stunning victory over the Australian government Monday, overturning the cancellation of...

Capital Health

Sydney, Australia, Dec 14 – Australia will push ahead with plans to ease Covid restrictions before Christmas, officials said Tuesday, even as new coronavirus...

Cimate Change

Margaret River, Australia, Dec 10 – Australia battled twin natural disasters Friday, with bushfires cutting through a picturesque west coast region, while serious flooding...

World

Sydney (AFP), Oct 1 – A long-planned round of Australia-EU free trade talks have been postponed, a European official confirmed Friday, after fury over...

World

Melbourne, Australia, Sep 22 – A rare quake rattled southeastern Australia early Wednesday, shaking buildings, knocking down walls and sending panicked Melbourne residents running...

World

Paris (AFP), Sep 18 – US President Joe Biden has requested early talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, France said on Sunday, in an...