Novak Djokovic has lost his latest appeal against an Australian visa revocation and is now due to be deported from the country.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been embroiled in a public fight to compete at this month’s Australian Open due to the country’s strict COVID rules and his own unvaccinated status.
Djokovic was initially refused entry to the country upon arrival, only for a judge to overturn the original decision to have his visa revoked.
However, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke then used his ministerial powers to revoke the Serbian visa for the second time, saying that allowing Djokovic to play in the first Grand Slam of the year could fuel anti-vaccination sentiment.
Djokovic has filed an appeal against Hawke’s decision, but the referee has dismissed the appeal in order to deprive the nine-time Australian Open champion of his hopes of defending the title he has won in each of the past three years.
“I am extremely disappointed with the Court 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,” read a statement from Djokovic.
“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will 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.
“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.” said Djokovic.
Australians have endured some of the toughest coronavirus restrictions in the world, but Djokovic’s positive test in December meant he was able to apply for an exemption to enter the country.
The tournament had given the world number one the chance to set a record 21. Winning a Grand Slam crown which would have put him ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time list.