Australia Cancels Novak Djokovic’s Visa (Again). He Could Have Avoided the Whole Controversy If He’d Been Vaccinated
Australian authorities cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time on Friday, all however ending a dramatic saga over whether or not the unvaccinated world no. 1 males’s tennis participant may compete within the Australian Open, which begins Monday.
Whereas Djokovic’s authorized group can attraction the choice by Alex Hawke, the Australian authorities minister accountable for immigration, authorized observers say the federal government has broad authority in immigration instances. Djokovic’s authorized group is “contemplating its choices.”
The 34-year-old continues to be technically scheduled to face off in opposition to fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in subsequent week’s opening spherical, however with out a legitimate visa, the tennis star will seemingly be ordered again into immigration detention. Djokovic nonetheless has authorized choices, but when he exhausts these, he faces deportation.
The debacle and its beautiful plot twists have gripped tennis followers all over the world. Djokovic, who gained the event final yr, initially obtained a visa to enter Australia. However, he was denied entry after touchdown in Melbourne on Jan. 5 over questions concerning the legitimacy of a vaccination exemption. A choose reinstated his visa on Jan. 10, however Hawke revoked Djokovic’s visa on Friday, saying that he made the choice within the public curiosity. The choice additionally carries a possible three-year ban on being granted extra visas whereas abroad—that means the Australian Open, one of many 4 main tournaments, could possibly be off limits to one of the crucial profitable gamers in tennis.
READ MORE: Why Australians Are Livid About Anti-Vaxxer Novak Djokovic
All the saga may simply have been prevented if Djokovic had been absolutely vaccinated—as 92% of Australians over 16 have been. The 2022 Australian Open requires followers and staffers to be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, and practically each participant on this yr’s lineup entered the nation with little hassle by displaying proof of vaccination. Australian border officers stated they have been investigating one different participant and an official who have been additionally issued medical exemptions.
The Australian authorities has confronted public backlash for letting the unvaccinated tennis star into the nation whereas it fumbles to take care of an explosion of COVID-19 instances. Australia’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths are all at ranges dramatically greater than something seen within the first two years of the pandemic, throughout which the nation maintained a few of the world’s hardest border controls and in addition enforced strict lockdowns to cease transmission of the virus.
The federal government has additionally confronted criticism for flip-flopping, and dragging out a choice on whether or not Djokovic may stay within the nation. Opposition chief Anthony Albanese stated it ought to “by no means have come to this” as a result of Djokovic shouldn’t have been granted a visa to enter the nation if he was not eligible for a vaccination exemption.
“When you can’t decide on Novak Djokovic, goodness me, how are you guys working the nation? That is an absolute shambles,” Tasmanian Sen. Jacqui Lambie, a political impartial, informed an Australian TV community.
Djokovic can be dealing with criticism for particulars which have emerged within the final week, together with that he offered false visa info and knowingly attended an interview whereas contaminated with COVID-19.
The tennis star posted an announcement to his Instagram account on Wednesday saying that he gone to an interview and a photoshoot in Belgrade after being knowledgeable that he had examined optimistic for the virus as a result of he “didn’t need to let the journalist down.” “On reflection, this was an error of judgement and I settle for that I ought to have rescheduled this dedication,” he stated.
Djokovic additionally reportedly traveled throughout Europe earlier than departing for Australia, regardless of declaring on his visa utility that he had not traveled within the 14 days earlier than he left for Australia. Djokovic chalked the declaration up as an administrative error by his agent.
In the meantime, a Serbian embassy official informed native newspaper the Herald Solar on Friday that Djokovic has a diplomatic passport—although it’s unclear whether or not that can have any impact on his case.
“Djokovic, as our most recognizable consultant on the planet, is the holder of a diplomatic passport, which ought to, in diplomatic idea and consular apply, assure him ample therapy when crossing borders,” she reportedly stated.
The French sports activities minister is already on report saying that Djokovic might be allowed to play within the French Open in June.