Australia cancels Novak Djokovic’s visa for the second time
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning against Marin Cilic of Croatia in match 2 of the Davis Cup Semi Final at Madrid Arena on December 3, 2021.
Sanjin Strukic | Pixsell | MB Media | Getty Images
Tennis star Novak Djokovic has had his visa canceled once again ahead of the Australian Open as a furor over his Covid-19 vaccination status intensifies.
On Monday, Djokovic had won a court battle to stay in the country after his visa was initially revoked. The 34-year-old Serbian national had been detained in an immigration facility last week after arriving in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open for what officials said violated the country’s strict entry rules that require visitors be vaccinated against Covid.
The court ruling meant Djokovic’s visa remained valid and he was released from detention. But the Australian government has now acted once again.
“Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement on Friday.
Djokovic, a vocal vaccine skeptic aiming for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, initially had his passport confiscated on Jan. 5 after customs officials decided he did not have sufficient medical justification for a vaccine exemption.
Djokovic’s team of lawyers argued in a court filing Saturday that the tennis player’s contraction of Covid-19 — for which he tested positive on Dec. 16 — served as a sufficient vaccine exemption. But controversy followed when observers pointed out photos taken on Dec. 17 with Djokovic and several Serbian youth tennis players, unmasked and indoors.
Earlier this week, Djokovic admitted and apologized for failing to isolate immediately after contracting Covid in December.
—CNBC’s Natasha Turak contributed to this article.