Novak Djokovic has had his visa canceled for a second time just three days before he is set to play in the 2022 Australian Open. The decision came on Friday and now the No. 1 seed in the men’s bracket of the tournament is facing deportation again as a result.
On Friday, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke stated that he used “ministerial discretion” to cancel the tennis star’s visa due to “public interest.” Shortly after Hawke made the ruling, Djokovic’s lawyers began yet another appeal in an effort to get Djokovic’s visa cancellation overturned and had an after-hours hearing in Federal Circuit and Family Court.
Judge Anthony Kelly, the judge who originally ruled that Djokovic could remain in Australia earlier in the month despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19, was present at the hearing. Djokovic had been given an exemption from tournament organizers.
Djokovic’s lawyer, Nick Wood, informed Kelly that he hoped an appeal would be heard on Sunday — which would mean Djokovic could have his visa reinstated and able to compete at the Australian Open when it begins on Monday. Here’s how CBS News explained what Djokovic’s lawyers need to do:
“Djokovic’s lawyers need to get him two urgent orders. One is an injunction preventing his deportation, like the order he gained last week. The second would make Hawke grant Djokovic a visa to play.”
In Australia, a government official granting a citizen a visa happens “very rarely,” according to the Associated Press.
Djokovic has to return to immigration detention when he meets with Australian Border Force officials on Saturday morning. If Djokovic ends up being deported, it may result in him not being allowed to enter Australia for a three-year period.
He is aiming to challenge for the most men’s Grand Slam titles of all-time at the Australian Open. The 34-year-old star is currently tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic would be the first men’s player ever to win 21.