Australia moves to deport tennis star Novak Djokovic

SYDNEY — Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his personal power on Friday to have tennis world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s visa canceled in a bid to deport him ahead of the Australian Open grand slam that begins Monday.

The Australian Border Force initially canceled Djokovic’s visa when he arrived in the country without the necessary COVID vaccines. However, Djokovic later won an appeal against his deportation and was freed from hotel detention by a Melbourne judge after the Australian government had to admit he had not been given enough time to respond to notification of their intention to grant his visa cancel.

After days of internal discussions, Hawke said in one Explanation he had decided to use his personal powers of deportation Djokovic”for reasons of health and good order, provided that this is in the public interest.”

He added: “Morrison’s Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Our strong brother protections have kept Australians safe from COVID and now during the pandemic,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.

According to media reports, Djokovic’s lawyers had indicated they would appeal if Australia wanted to deport the Serbian tennis champion.

The turbulent legal saga has cast a shadow over the Australian Open and raised big questions for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government.

Djokovic, who has won the Australian Open nine times, had attempted to enter Australia on a medical exemption from vaccination due to a previous COVID infection, according to a court affidavit to which he tested positive on December 16. He admitted on Wednesday he made a “misjudgment” in breaking Serbia’s COVID isolation rules while he was positive for the virus.

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