ITV – Novak Djokovic’s will not be playing at the Australian Open after a court dismissed the top-ranked tennis star’s appeal against a deportation order on Sunday.
After a tense few hours, three Federal Court judges unanimously upheld a decision made on Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds, bringing the saga that has gripped the world’s attention closer to an end.
The decision likely means that Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, will remain in detention in Melbourne until he is deported.
A deportation order usually also includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia.
The immigration minister cancelled the visa on the grounds that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”
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In a statement via The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Djokovic said: “I would like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today’s court hearing. I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.
“I am extremely disappointed with the ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.
“I respect the court’s ruling and I’ll cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.
“I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love. I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.
“Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans and my fellow Serbians for your continued support. You have all been a great source of strength to me.”
Djokovic’s visa was initially cancelled on January 6 at Melbourne’s airport hours after he arrived to compete in the first Grand Slam of 2022.
A border official cancelled his visa after deciding Djokovic didn’t qualify for a medical exemption from Australia’s rules for unvaccinated visitors.
But after Djokovic’s lawyers launched an appeal, Judge Anthony Kelly in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia overturned the visa cancellation on January 10, ruling the tennis star had not been given enough time to speak to his lawyers before the decision was made