Novak Djokovic Set to Play in Australian Open Despite Visa Uncertainty

News SPORTS World

Thursday, January 13, 2021

Novak Djokovic has been drawn to play in the Australian Open despite ongoing uncertainty over whether his visa will be cancelled again by the government.

The world number one men’s player was included in the draw on Thursday afternoon after an initial delay.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has said he is still considering using his powers to revoke Djokovic’s visa.

Djokovic was barred entry last week due to lack of vaccination.

He said his Covid infection in mid-December met the conditions for foreigners entering Australia, but authorities cancelled his visa on the basis that it was not a valid exemption.

He was held in immigration detention for five days while he challenged the deportation order. On Monday a court dramatically overturned the government’s visa cancellation after finding that immigration officials hadn’t followed proper procedure.

Following the verdict though, Australia’s immigration minister said he was still considering cancelling the tennis star’s visa on other grounds.

With his actions under heavy scrutiny, Djokovic admitted on Wednesday that he had also broken Covid isolation rules in Serbia after meeting up with people when he knew he was positive.

He admitted he had also made errors on his travel form into Australia.

A false declaration on his travel form is grounds for a visa cancellation.

Djokovic said his agent had prepared the paperwork and made an “administrative mistake” in ticking a box saying he hadn’t travelled anywhere 14 days prior to entering Australia.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declined to say when a decision might come from his government, quashing press gallery reports that a decision would be made imminently.

“[The immigration minister’s] position hasn’t changed,” he told reporters at a Covid press briefing.

“These are personal ministerial powers able to be exercised by Minister [Alex] Hawke and I don’t propose to make any further comment at this time.