Novak Djokovic set to be deported from Australia after his visa is revoked

Shahida Jacobs
Serbia's Novak Djokovic takes a breather

The bizarre story of Novak Djokovic’s participation in the 2022 Australian Open took yet another dramatic twist on Wednesday evening when the defending champion’s Australian visa was revoked.

After announcing to the world on Tuesday that he was on his way to Melbourne to defend his title after being granted an exemption, things escalated on Wednesday with several back-and-forth claims about the decision to clear him to compete.

Both Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford were adamant that the 20-time Grand Slam winner would have to “provide acceptable proof” for his examination or “he’ll be on next plane home”.

The world No 1 arrived in Melbourne late on Wednesday following a 14-hour flight from Dubai and after spending several hours in isolation at Tullamanrien airport, it was finally confirmed in the early hours of Thursday that he had been denied entry into the country.

The Border Force statement read: “Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.”

Before the decision by Border Force became public, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic expressed his support for Djokovic and vowed to fight against the “harassment of the world’s best tennis player”.

“I’ve just finished my telephone conversation with Novak Djokovic,” he said in a post on Instagram. “I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world’s best tennis player is brought to an end immediately.

“In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice. Novak is strong, as we all know.”

It is unlikely to be the end of the saga as Reuters reports that Djokovic “was filing an injunction to prevent his deportation”.

Although journalist Saša Ozmo, who is very close to the Djokovic camp, warned “there is very little chance that DJokovic plays in Melbourne”.