Boris Becker has told Novak Djokovic “it will be easier” for him going forwards to be vaccinated against Covid-19, following the decision of Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to revoke the world No 1’s visa for a second time.
Djokovic initially had his visa cancelled on arrival in Melbourne last week, after Australian border officials refused to accept the reasons for the medical exemption which was meant to allow him to compete at the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated. After a spell in detention at Melbourne’s Park Hotel, he won a court appeal against the decision which allowed him to temporarily extend his stay in Australia.
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On Friday, however, Hawke exercised his ministerial power to cancel Djokovic’s visa on public interest 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.
“The 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.

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“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. I thank the officers of the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Border Force who work every day to serve Australia’s interests in increasingly challenging operational environments.”
Djokovic’s lawyers are appealing Hawke’s decision but, if that fails, he will be deported. The world No 1 hoped to win his 21st Grand Slam title in Australia, a record-breaking feat that would put him ahead of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Speaking to Eurosport Germany, Becker, who coached Djokovic between 2013 and 2016, repeated his call for the world No 1 to get the vaccine. Last week, in a separate interview, Becker called his decision to remain unvaccinated “a big mistake… one that threatens what remains of his career and his chance to cement himself as the greatest player of all time.”
Asked whether Hawke had made the right call in rescinding Djokovic’s visa for a second time, Becker said: “It was to be expected that the Australian government would not take the ignominy of losing the case regarding the immigration proceedings against Novak Djokovic lying down and would strike back with a more forceful return. Any government is stronger than a single individual. That applies to all people and to Novak Djokovic too.”
Becker offered a qualified defence of Djokovic, who remains a close friend. “If you don’t get vaccinated, it doesn’t automatically make you a bad person,” he said. “I got vaccinated and boosted, but I’m in my fifties. There are many people who share Novak’s view, rely on their strong immune system and perhaps have a different view of the world. As a democratic society, we should also allow these other opinions.”
Becker also questioned the response of the Australian authorities and Tennis Australia, saying: “I am not someone who points fingers at people, but they are not entirely innocent in the disaster around Novak Djokovic. But he has to pay the bill all by himself. I hope the international media here will take a close look at who is responsible for all the mistakes.”
Nonetheless, he again urged Djokovic to reconsider his stance on vaccination. “I don’t think it will get easier for him,” he added. “The French Open and Wimbledon are looking very closely at the situation in Australia.
“If he wants to continue to focus on tennis, he has to make some changes. Therefore, my opinion would be: Novak, try to realise that it will be easier for you if you are vaccinated. Whether he will do that, I don’t know.”
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