The Australian government has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time, with immigration minister Alex Hawke saying he “carefully considered” all information before arriving at the decision.
The world number one had been waiting since a judge overturned the original verdict on Monday to find out whether Hawke would use his powers to reimpose the penalty.
Just before 6pm on Friday, the immigration minister released a statement saying he had made the judgement to send Djokovic home “on health and good order grounds”.
Hawke said: “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.
“This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.
“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.
“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on 5 January having been granted an exemption through Tennis Australia from the country’s strict entry rules regarding Covid-19 vaccination on the grounds that he had been recently infected with the virus.
But he was stopped by the Australian Border Force and questioned through the night before being informed that his visa had been cancelled. He was then taken to a detention hotel.
Djokovic appealed against the decision and five days later a judge ruled in his favour, seemingly freeing him up to play in the Australian Open, which begins on Monday.
There could yet be a further legal challenge from the world number one but, if not, his hopes of winning a 10th title at Melbourne Park and 21st grand slam title are at an end.
Djokovic headed straight to Melbourne Park after leaving the hotel on Monday and has practised every day since, including early on Friday morning, but his hopes of staying in the country have faded as the week has gone on following revelations about his conduct.
Documents indicate Djokovic tested positive in Serbia on 16 December but he was photographed at events on the following two days and issued a statement earlier this week admitting he took part in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe at his tennis centre in Belgrade despite believing he had the virus.
He also admitted his declaration form falsely claimed he had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his trip to Australia, which he attributed to a mistake from his agent.
Following Djokovic’s detention, two other people – Czech player Renata Voracova and an official – who had entered the country with the same exemption were also informed that it was not valid and both left Australia without challenging the ruling.
Djokovic’s name remained in the draw for the tournament and it is likely to stay that way until it becomes clear whether he is leaving the country or contesting the decision, with the latter looking likely.
The 34-year-old has avoided a return to his detentions hotel and is set be interviewed by immigration officials on Saturday.