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The Financial Express

Djokovic's Australia Open hopes end as he loses court battle, faces deportation 

| Updated: January 17, 2022 12:19:28


Djokovic's Australia Open hopes end as he loses court battle, faces deportation 

Novak Djokovic is set to be deported from Australia after losing a last-ditch court bid to stay in the country.

Judges rejected a challenge launched by the unvaccinated tennis star after the government cancelled his visa on "health and good order" grounds.

The world number one's hopes of defending his Australian Open title and winning a record 21st Grand Slam in Melbourne are over, according to BBC.

Djokovic said he was "extremely disappointed" but accepted the ruling.

"I will co-operate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country," he said in a statement. He is expected to fly out of the country shortly.

His supporters fell silent outside the courtroom as the decision was announced on the eve of Djokovic's opening match in the tournament. One fan told the BBC that her summer would be "empty" without the 34-year-old playing at the Open.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed "the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe".

Djokovic launched the case after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his ministerial powers to cancel the Serbian player's visa, arguing that his presence in the country risked fanning anti-vaccine sentiment.

It was the second time his visa had been revoked after a first cancellation over not following Covid entry rules was overturned by a different judge.

During Sunday's court hearing before a three-judge panel, Djokovic's defence unsuccessfully argued that the grounds given by the government were "invalid and illogical".

Chief Justice James Allsop said the federal court's ruling was based on the legality of the minister's decision, not on whether it was the right decision to make.

Full reasoning for the ruling will be made public in the coming days, he said.

Deportation orders usually include a three-year ban on returning to Australia, though this can be waived in certain circumstances.

Sunday's ruling marks the end of a 10-day saga over Djokovic's Australian visa.

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