TENNIS star Novak Djokovic faces deportation after the Australian government revoked his visa for a second time.
The decision casts serious over whether the 34-year-old Serbian can defend his Australian Open title though he can still launch another legal challenge to remain in the country.
The men’s tennis number one was scheduled to play in the Australian Open, which begins on Monday and for which he is number one seed.
The decision is the latest dramatic twist in the saga over over anti-vaxxer Djokovic’s jab status which saw his visa revoked when first landed Down Under.
But the door remains open for him to play in the tournament.
His representatives have already said they would launch an immediate appeal in court against any attempt to deport him.
With any appeal underway it would allow Djokovic to remain in the country and take part in the competition.
If he loses his appeal and is deported then he would banned from Australia for three years.
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his powers to revoke Djokovic’s visa after a court quashed an earlier revocation and released him from immigration detention on Monday.
He said the decision was made on the basis of “health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so”.
The government “is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Hawke added.
Djokovic’s visa was first revoked shortly after his arrival in Melbourne on 6 January.
Australian border Force officials said he had “failed to provide appropriate evidence” to receive a vaccine exemption.
The star spent hours at immigration control at the airport and then spent days at an immigration hotel.
He also faced a backlash from the Australian public, who have lived under some of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns during the pandemic.
Days later his visa was reinstated by a judge, who ordered his release, ruling that border officials ignored correct procedure when he arrived.