Novak Djokovic's legal challenge to keep alive his Australia Open campaign will continue on Friday night just hours after the world No.1 had his visa cancelled.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke announced late on Friday afternoon that the nine-time Open champion's visa had been revoked for a second time, less than three days before the year's opening grand slam begins in Melbourne.
Facing deportation, Djokovic will face a directions hearing before Judge Tony Kelly in the Federal Circuit Court which is set to get underway at 8.45pm.
The decision by Hawke threatens to end the Serbian superstar's quest to secure a record-breaking 21st grand slam title at a tournament which he has dominated since winning his first Open title in 2008.
After a four-day deliberation Hawke said he had cancelled the visa on "health and good order grounds".
"Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so," Hawke said in a statement.
"This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.
"In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians deserved to be protected.
"Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected," Morrison said in a statement.
"This is what the Minister is doing in taking this action today."
If Djokovic doesn't successfully fight the decision, under immigration law he would be banned from being granted another visa for three years, although this can be waived.
The timing of Hawke's announcement makes a challenge difficult as the first round of the Australian Open starts on Monday.
Lawyers would need to get an urgent order preventing his deportation, and another that would order Hawke to grant Djokovic a visa in order for him to play.
Meanwhile, Open organisers must rework the draw following the late omission of the top seed, who was slated to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round.
According to the grand slam rule book, Djokovic's withdrawal after the completion of the draw means his slot at the top will go to No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev.
If he withdrew (or was withdrawn) after the first day's order of play was released, he would be replaced at the top of the draw by a lucky loser.
Djokovic cited a December COVID-19 infection to gain a medical exemption from vaccination but was detained by Australian Border Force officials on arrival last week and sent to a detention hotel with his visa cancelled.
He then won a reprieve in the Federal Circuit Court on Monday and has trained daily at Melbourne Park since, including an appearance Friday morning on Rod Laver Arena.
But it proved only a temporary move with Hawke using his discretionary power to again send Djokovic packing.
The 34-year-old did himself no favours when he was forced to admit in a statement this week he had provided false information on his travel declaration, blaming his agent for the error.
He also admitted to conducting an in-person media interview in Serbia while knowingly infected with COVID-19 and meant be self-isolating - an act which he described as an "error of judgement".
Australian Associated Press