HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Novak Djokovic intends to pursue a 10th Australian Open title as the first tennis major of the year begins on Monday. But before the Serbian player can turn his attention to breaking a 20-Grand Slam singles titles tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the world’s top-ranked men’s player must first resolve his ongoing visa saga.
The 34-year-old, who is one major final win from claiming the men’s record, still risks the chance of deportation.
Djokovic’s visa was canceled upon his arrival to Melbourne, Australia, last week when his vaccination exemption was questioned, but he has since won a legal battle on procedural grounds allowing him to stay in the country. Then, on Friday, his visa was revoked again and now he is facing possible deportation.
The latest twist in the saga over whether the athlete should be allowed to stay in Australia despite not being vaccinated revolves around the revelation that he provided false information on an immigration form.
WHAT HAPPENS IF AUSTRALIA REVOKES HIS VISA AGAIN?
Djokovic’s lawyers are expected immediately to seek an injunction. That would send the matter back to Federal Court, and that could take a while to play out.
It could mean he’s able to compete in the Australian Open in the meantime — attempting to win a record 21st Grand Slam title. Tournament organizers included him in the draw Thursday, and he is slated to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic next week.
But Djokovic also might have to return to a detention facility during the legal proceedings.
If he is ultimately deported, he might not be able to reapply for an Australian visa for three years. Djokovic is 34, and such a hiatus might mean he won’t have another chance to win the Australian title.