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Novak Djokovic waits on the Australian government to cancel visa

  • Jan 14, 2022
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MELBOURNE (AFP) - World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic waited on Friday to see if the Australian government would revoke his visa for a second time, as he seeks 21 major tennis titles at the Australian Open on Monday.

Defending champion Djokovic was included in Thursday's draw as the top seed and will face his Serbian colleague Miomir Kikmanovic in his first match, likely on Monday or Tuesday.

The decision to revoke his visa could lead to a second court battle by the Serbian tennis star after an earlier annulment court overturned and released him from immigration custody on Monday.
Melbourne's Edge newspaper, citing a source from Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Liberal Party, said the government was "strongly inclined" to cancel visas.

Vaccine skeptic Djokovic sparked widespread outrage in Australia when he announced last week that he was heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open, granting visitors a medical exemption from coronavirus vaccination requirements.

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Australia has experienced some of the longest lockdowns in the world, has a 90% vaccination rate among adults, and an uncontrolled outbreak of Omicron has led to nearly a million cases in the past two weeks.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said on TV Friday morning that the visa decision belonged to the country's immigration minister, Alex Hawke, but that overall, the government's policy-setting was "clear as glass".

On Today's Channel 9 program, he said, "Any people entering Australia who are not Australian citizens should get a double dose of the vaccine, unless they have a clear and valid medical exemption to the contrary."

An online survey by News Corp Media found that 83% support the government's attempt to deport the tennis star.

Although fans, including many Australian Serbs, loudly supported him when he was arrested, anti-Semites hailed him as a hero and his family welcomed him as a champion of individual rights.
The Melbourne Commission, which represents business and arts leaders, says the city's reputation as a host of events has been damaged by the controversy.

Martin commission executive director told The Age. Letts: "Djokovic's visa and epic vaccination had a disastrous effect on everyone involved, and it's a tragedy given the excellence of our infrastructure and tournament planning."

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