Novak Djokovic had his visa canceled by Australia again, facing 3-year ban

Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images
Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images /

Novak Djokovic had his visa canceled by the Australian government again, facing a 3-year ban if he’s deported while awaiting another appeal over the weekend.

The international saga and visa gamesmanship between Novak Djokovic and immigration at the Australian government continued with the world No. 1 men’s tennis player desperately trying to hold off deportation with a weekend hearing.

Only someone rich and famous would have been able to score an appeal hearing as quickly as Novak Djokovic did, with the privileged millionaire directing his lawyers in action once Immigration Minister Alex Hawke canceled his visa late Friday, Australian time, on “health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”

Considering the difficulties that Australians have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic, most of the country would like to see the Serbian player deported — at least 83 percent agreeing with the country’s hardline stance, possibly even as much as 90 percent — the government really had no option than to push for greater action.

Additionally, much more damaging information has emerged after the first time the visa was canceled on Jan. 5. It’s now no longer just a vaccine mandate issue at hand. The Dec. 16 Positive COVID PCR test that Djokovic’s team cited to receive their exemption status has also illustrated further behavioral issues including the tennis player’s appearance at two events post-positive status.

At one — a commemorative stamp ceremony in Serbia — the 20-time slam champ has been criticized for exposing children to the disease, although Djokovic claims that he was unaware of his positive test at the time (which some are skeptical about). However, at another — a photo shoot where he exposed a photographer and a journalist — he was aware of his test and said that he didn’t want to disappoint the journalist. However, the International Tennis Writer’s Association (ITWA) called Djokovic’s decision “deeply concerning.” Apparently, Serbia — which usually has his back — is also looking into these incidents as well.

Novak Djokovic could be in trouble with other countries besides Australia

Djokovic is additionally under investigation in Spain for having illegally traveled there during the 14 days prior to arriving in Australia, even though he ticked off the box on his immigration form that he hadn’t traveled anywhere during that time, a violation that can result in jail time. This error in judgment was of course blamed on someone else who works for the Serbian player as an “administrative mistake.”

All of the above behavioral concerns are now on the table in the new immigration row. They are also serious lapses in judgment that the public rightly lays blame at the tennis player’s feet. This has now become a PR disaster for the tennis legend, who is hellbent on being crowned the GOAT with a 21st grand slam and a chance to outshine the other two legends he is tied with, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

But at what cost? Djokovic has shown that he is willing to flout the rules for his own benefit, something his two other competitors for GOAT status never would do. He wonders why he isn’t as beloved as Federer and Nadal? His self-centered behavior and dogged pursuit of records at all costs have done so much damage to his personal reputation.

It’s not the first time the 34-year-old tennis player has courted controversy. He was ousted from the 2020 U.S. Open for hitting a lineswoman during a temper tantrum. Famously anti-vax, he held a tennis tournament before that slam in Croatia where COVID protocols were flagrantly disregarded, resulting in several participants catching the disease.

Novak Djokovic is set to be detained by immigration on Saturday and await an appeal trial on Sunday, an enormous privilege only afforded to the rich and famous, apparently. The Australian Open begins the day after, Jan. 17. If Djokovic is permitted to play, it will be a huge blow to the hosting country, where a favorable outcome for the tennis star will send a terrible message that rules are only for the little people, and that selfish, callous athletes can do whatever they want.