(Bloomberg) -- Australia cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time, reversing a court decision on Monday that temporarily thwarted the federal government’s bid to deport the unvaccinated tennis star.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke exercised his personal powers to override the court ruling, just days before the world mens’ No. 1 is due to vie for a record 21st Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open. The visa was revoked on health and good order grounds and on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so, he said in a statement Friday.
Judge Anthony Kelly quashed the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa in a court hearing on Monday, saying the player wasn’t given enough time to fully respond to officials who denied him entry to Australia. He warned that any attempt by minister Hawke to use his personal cancellation powers could mean that Djokovic wouldn’t be able to return to Australia for three years.
Djokovic this week admitted that he attended a newspaper interview and photo shoot when he knew he was infectious with Covid-19, while he also blamed “human error” for an incorrect travel declaration that he used to enter Australia.
While Victoria state granted Djokovic a medical exemption before he boarded a plane to Australia, federal officials overturned his visa on arrival amid a national uproar that a wealthy sports star was receiving special treatment. More than 90% of Australian adults are fully vaccinated and the country has endured some of the world’s toughest restrictions during the pandemic.
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