Tennis superstar, Novak Djokovic is reportedly on track to play at the Australian Open despite the Immigration Minister contemplating whether to cancel his visa for a second time.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, January 11, a spokesman for Alex Hawke said he is ‘thoroughly’ considering whether to use his discretionary powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa after it was reinstated by a judge on Monday.
‘As noted yesterday in the Federal Circuit and Family Court, Minister Hawke is considering whether to cancel Mr. Djokovic’s visa,’ he said. ‘In line with due process, Minister Hawke will thoroughly consider the matter.’
It is unclear how long it will take for Mr. Hawke to make a decision – with the start of the Australian Open just six days away. Djokovic hopes to become the most successful male player of all time at the tournament.
The comments come as Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce admitted he was wrong about the tennis star being deported.
‘I got it wrong. I thought that it would be game, set, match that he hadn’t been double vaxxed and he would’ve been asked to go,’ Mr Joyce said.
‘I got it wrong, okay. I’m not going to pretend to be a solicitor again.’
Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against Covid and contracted the virus in December, was denied a visa to enter Australia on January 6 by a Border Force official.
The Serb, who had been granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia, believed he met criteria set by Australia’s advisory board on immunisation and had been given a federal government declaration he could travel.
Mr. Joyce had supported the decision to give Djokovic the boot. But Djokovic took his case to the Federal Circuit Court where Judge Anthony Kelly quashed the cancellation of his visa on Monday.
Judge Kelly found that tearing up Djokovic’s visa had been unreasonable and he had not been given enough time by Australian Border Force officials to respond.
‘Following today’s Federal Circuit and Family Court determination on a procedural ground, it remains within Immigration Minister Hawke’s discretion to consider cancelling Mr Djokovic’s visa,’ a spokesman for Mr Hawke had said on Monday night.
‘ The minister is currently considering the matter.’
Mr. Hawke could cancel the visa whenever he decided there was enough evidence there was a ground to do so and if it was in the public interest.
Judge Kelly had said on Monday if the government intended to cancel Djokovic’s visa the Federal Circuit Court must be given ample notice to prepare for future proceedings.
Djokovic broke his silence on Monday night over the federal government’s failed cancellation of his visa, saying he still wanted to compete at the Australian Open next week.
‘I’m pleased and grateful that the judge overturned my visa cancellation,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete.
‘I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.’
The Australia Open starts on January 17 when Djokovic wants to launch his bid to become the most-decorated men’s singles player of all time.
The Serb is currently level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles. Federer is out of this year’s tournament with injury, while Nadal will be playing.