Novak Djokovic has lost his appeal – his second in a week – against deportation and will miss the Australian Open, the first grand slam of the season, where he is a nine-time winner and defending champion.
I am extremely disappointed with the ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open Novak Djokovic
As things stand, the Serbian will not be able to return to Melbourne during the next three years as a deportation order usually includes a three-year ban from entering the country.
Alex Hawke, the Immigration Minister’s decision to deport Djokovic who was scheduled, as top seed in Melbourne, to play on Monday, the opening day of the Australian Open, was unanimously upheld by three Federal Court judges on public interest grounds.
This time his visa was cancelled because his presence in Australia could be a risk to the health and ‘good order’ of the public and ‘may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia1‘.
Originally the anti-vaxxer Djokovic, had been denied entry on arrival in Melbourne last week, by Border Force officials querying his travel documents and deciding they didn’t meet the exemption regulations covering unvaccinated visitors. That was overturned by a judge last Monday on a ‘procedural’ basis.
It seems that Djokovic has now accepted the inevitable and hopes that the attention his fight to remain in Australia will now abate as he won’t appeal for a third time.
As the world awaits the predictable pictures of him being escorted to his plane, Djokovic released the following statement:
“I’d 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,” he said.
“I am extremely disappointed with the ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the 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 co-operate 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 will now have time to reflect on his stand as an anti-vaxxer and whether it has all been worthwhile. His hope that it will die down is highly unlikely as the pros and cons of the saga will be dissected in detail while a scapegoat to blame for the fiasco, is looked for.