The 2022 Australian Open is scheduled to begin in three days, and the defending champion in men’s singles play is still looking highly unlikely to be able to participate.
Novak Djokovic’s attempted journey to take part in the tournament has hit another snag, as the Australian government has revoked his visa for a second time. The 34-year-old faces deportation again, as the chances of his participation in the Grand Slam tennis event continue to dwindle due to his decision to be unvaccinated against COVID-19.
“Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said Friday that he used his ministerial discretion to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds — just three days before play begins at the Australian Open, where Djokovic has won a record nine of his 20 Grand Slam titles,” an ESPN report read. “Three hours later, Djokovic’s lawyers began their appeal against the visa cancellation in an after-hours hearing at the Federal Circuit and Family Court. The same judge, Anthony Kelly, ruled in favor of Djokovic earlier this week on procedural grounds after his visa was first canceled when he landed at a Melbourne airport.”
Another recent piece of Djokovic’s scandal-filled month was his recent admission that he attended a children’s event in December with COVID-19 test results still pending, and ultimately gave an interview following a positive test.
According to ESPN’s report on Friday morning, Djokovic’s lawyer, Nick Wood, told Kelly that he hoped an appeal would be heard on Sunday and that the world’s No. 1 men’s tennis player would have his visa returned in time for him to play in the first round of the Open on Monday. Deportation from Australia can lead to a three-year ban from the country, though that can be waived, depending on the circumstances, according to ESPN.
All players, support teams and spectators at the Australian Open are currently required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.