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Australia cancels Djokovic's visa citing health risk

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For a second time in a week, Novak Djokovic faces deportation.

Following a public row over his right to remain in the country without being vaccinated, Australia has canceled Djokovic’s visa on "health and good order grounds", claiming it was "in the public interest to do so".

Yet at a preliminary court hearing on Friday (January 14), lawyers for the world tennis number one sought an injunction to block the government from deporting him.

His lawyers have said canceling the sportsman's visa over fears it would excite anti-vaccination sentiment were “irrational”.

And hoped their challenge could be heard by Sunday (January 16), the day before the Australian Open tournament starts.

The Age Newspaper reported that Djokovic had been asked to present himself for an interview with immigration officials on Saturday (January 15) and will remain out of detention until then.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used discretionary powers to revoke the visa, after a previous court appeal released the player from detention on Monday (January 10).

Under the law used, Djokovic would not be able to secure a visa to Australia for the next three years, except in compelling circumstances.

Despite the latest developments, a source close to Djokovic confirmed he is considering challenging the decision in court again.

Throughout the pandemic, Australia has endured some of the world's longest lockdowns, has achieved a 90% vaccination rate among adults, and has seen a runaway Omicron outbreak bring nearly a million cases in the last two weeks.

The vaccine sceptic had originally entered the country claiming a medical exemption on the grounds he had recently recovered from the virus.

Djokovic’s cause has not been helped by recent revelations that he declared he had not traveled abroad 14 days before his flight to Australia.

But social media posts reveal he had traveled between Spain and Serbia.

While Djokovic blamed the error on his agent, he has also acknowledged he should not have done an interview and photoshoot with a French newspaper on December 18 while infected with COVID-19.

But with the tournament starting on Monday (January 17), time is running out for the world number one and his hopes of winning a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.

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