Australia Cancels Novak Djokovic’s Visa (Again). He Could Have Avoided the entire Controversy If He ‘d Been Vaccinated

A ustralian authorities cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a 2nd time on Friday, all however ending a remarkable legend over whether the unvaccinated world no. 1 guys’s tennis gamer might contend in the Australian Open, which starts Monday.

While Djokovic’s legal group can appeal the choice by Alex Hawke, the Australian federal government minister in charge of migration, legal observers state the federal government has broad authority in migration cases. Djokovic’s legal group is ” considering its alternatives.”

The 34- year-old is still technically arranged to take on versus fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in next week’s opening round, however without a legitimate visa, the tennis star will likely be called back into migration detention. Djokovic still has legal alternatives, however if he tires those, he deals with deportation.

The ordeal and its spectacular plot twists have actually grasped tennis fans around the globe. Djokovic, who won the competition in 2015, at first got a visa to go into Australia. He was rejected entry after landing in Melbourne on Jan. 5 over concerns about the authenticity of a vaccination exemption. A judge renewed his visa on Jan. 10, however Hawke withdrawed Djokovic’s visa on Friday, stating that he decided in the general public interest. The choice likewise brings a possible three-year restriction on being given extra visas while overseas– indicating the Australian Open, among the 4 significant competitions, might be off restricts to among the most effective gamers in tennis.

READ MORE: Why Australians Are Furious About Anti-Vaxxer Novak Djokovic

The whole legend might quickly have actually been prevented if Djokovic had actually been totally immunized– as 92%of Australians over 16 have actually been. The 2022 Australian Open needs fans and staffers to be immunized versus COVID-19, and almost every gamer in this year’s lineup got in the nation with little difficulty by revealing evidence of vaccination. Australian border authorities stated they were examining another gamer and an authorities who were likewise provided medical exemptions.

The Australian federal government has actually dealt with public reaction for letting the unvaccinated tennis star into the nation while it fumbles to handle a surge of COVID-19 cases. Australia’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths are all at levels drastically greater than anything seen in the very first 2 years of the pandemic, throughout which the nation preserved a few of the world’s most difficult border controls and likewise imposed rigorous lockdowns to stop transmission of the infection.

The federal government has actually likewise dealt with criticism for flip-flopping, and dragging out a choice on whether Djokovic might stay in the nation. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese stated it needs to “never ever have actually concerned this” due to the fact that Djokovic must not have actually been given a visa to get in the nation if he was not qualified for a vaccination exemption.

” If you can’t decide on Novak Djokovic, goodness me, how are you men running the nation? This is an outright disarray,” Tasmanian Sen. Jacqui Lambie, a political independent, informed an Australian television network

Djokovic is likewise dealing with criticism for information that have actually emerged in the recently, consisting of that he supplied incorrect visa details and intentionally went to an interview while contaminated with COVID-19

The tennis star published a declaration to his Instagram account on Wednesday stating that he gone to an interview and a photoshoot in Belgrade after being notified that he had actually evaluated favorable for the infection since he “didn’t wish to let the reporter down.” “On reflection, this was a mistake of judgement and I accept that I must have rescheduled this dedication,” he stated.

Djokovic likewise supposedly took a trip throughout Europe prior to leaving for Australia, regardless of stating on his visa application that he had actually not taken a trip in the 14 days prior to he left for Australia. Djokovic chalked the statement up as an administrative mistake by his representative.

Meanwhile, a Serbian embassy authorities informed regional paper the Herald Sun on Friday that Djokovic has a diplomatic passport– though it’s uncertain whether that will have any result on his case.

” Djokovic, as our most identifiable agent on the planet, is the holder of a diplomatic passport, which should, in diplomatic theory and consular practice, ensure him appropriate treatment when crossing borders,” she apparently stated.

The French sports minister is currently on record stating that Djokovic will be permitted to play in the French Open in June.

Write to Amy Gunia at amy.gunia@time.com