Australia again canceled the visa of tennis star Djokovic

Dhe Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has declared the visa of the Serbian tennis professional Novak Djokovic to be invalid in a personal decision. The minister announced on Friday that this was well founded and “in the public interest”. A participation of the world number one in the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, is not yet ruled out because the 34-year-old may be able to appeal further, but has become unlikely. Djokovic is not vaccinated against the coronavirus and is therefore a controversial person in the country that has had tough rules since the beginning of the pandemic. The dispute has been causing an international stir for days and has also led to diplomatic tensions between Serbia and Australia.

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On arrival last week, the authorities had already refused Djokovic entry and classified the documents presented as inadequate for his medical exemption. Because he was not allowed enough time to react, a judge overturned the entry ban during a court hearing on Monday. Djokovic has trained normally since then and prepared for the Australian Open. There he is the defending champion, on Thursday he was drawn against the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic as an opponent for the first round.

The 34-year-old was refused entry to Australia at Melbourne Airport last week because he was not vaccinated against the coronavirus and the documentation of his medical exemption was insufficient for the authorities. Because the border officials had not given him the agreed time to clarify, the decision was overturned in court.

The Australian government had announced that it would consider further steps to withdraw Djokovic’s visa. The case also became a severe stress test for the country’s politics after Australia spent many months in tough lockdowns and many of the country’s citizens were also not allowed to enter their homeland for a long time because of the strict rules.

On Wednesday Djokovic denied deliberate misrepresentation and the endangerment of other people, but admitted errors in dealing with his positive test result. Via Instagram, he defended himself against two allegations in particular: Neither did he intentionally give false information about his travel behavior in the 14 days before the flight to the host country of the Australian Open, nor did he attend an event with children in December, knowing his positive corona test and moves there without a mask.

Djokovic described the “misinformation” that needed to be corrected as “hurtful and worrying to my family”. However, he admitted that during an interview with the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe” on December 18, he already knew about his positive test result and had still not canceled the appointment. “Although I went home after the interview and went into isolation for the prescribed length of time, after thinking more carefully, that was a misjudgment and I understand that I should have postponed this commitment,” he wrote.

The fact that it was incorrectly stated in his entry form that he had not traveled in the 14 days before his flight to Australia was described by Djokovic as a “human error” by his agent, “which was certainly not intentional”.

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