MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Australia has canceled the visa of the world No. 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic, on health and public order grounds.The Serbian player's lawyers are expected to challenge the government's decision in court.
Australia Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he had canceled Djokovic's visa on 'health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so."
He said his decision had been made after careful consideration of information provided by the "Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr. Djokovic."
The tennis star had been granted a medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination rules by two independent health panels organized by Australian tennis authorities and the Victoria state government.
However, he was detained when he arrived at Melbourne airport Jan. 5 by Australian Border Force officials. The cancelation of his visa was overturned by a federal court judge Monday.
However, his visa has now been revoked for a second time.
One tennis fan in Melbourne believes it was the right decision.
"Ah, look, I think it is for the best," the fan said. "The more you think about it, the tensions that would have been there, the booing from the crowd, the passionate fans on his side -- I just think it could . . . potentially be asking for trouble, personally, unfortunate as the whole saga is.So, I think it is the right decision and we can hopefully move on."
Djokovic said he had contracted coronavirus last month, which gave him the right to apply for a medical exemption. However, Australian border authorities had said that the tennis star had not met immigration regulations.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open title nine times.
Had he triumphed at this year's tournament, he would have become the most successful men's grand slam champion with 21 titles.