In a statement, Australia’s Border Force said: “Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled.
“Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry, or who have had their visa cancelled, will be detained and removed from Australia.”
‘Australia doesn’t deserve to host a grand slam’
In the tennis world, Djokovic’s exemption had provoked a backlash and the cancelling of his visa only caused more confusion ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Jan 17.
Some were angry that tennis is being used as a political tool.
US player Tennys Sandgren said: “Just to be crystal clear here, two separate medical boards approved his exemption. And politicians are stopping it. Australia doesn’t deserve to host a grand slam.”
Sergiy Stakhovsky, the Ukrainian player, wrote on Twitter: “When next time somebody will tell you ‘Sports is not interfering with politics’ you remember the 6Jan2022 when purely political ‘ego’ is not allowing best tennis player in the world to enter the country to which … ‘governmental institutions’ granted entry.”
Paul McNamee, the former chief executive of the Australian Open, said: “For those asking, all players go through the same visa process overseen by Tennis Australia to play the Australian Open (as non Australians are currently not able to enter). So it beggars belief that Djokovic is the only player that has had his visa granted and then rescinded.”
Djokovic also found support from the US, where popular Fox News host Laura Ingraham accused Australia of becoming a “police state”, while Nigel Farage accused Australia of being a “banana republic”.