Novak Djokovic to be deported from Australia after court upholds cancellation of visa

A federal court on Sunday upheld the Australian immigration minister cancelling the visa for Novak Djokovic, meaning he will be deported.

Novak Djokovic in a file photo. (Image Credit: Twitter/@usopen)

Novak Djokovic will now officially not be playing in the 2022 Australian Open, after a long and complicated saga surrounding his visa finally came to a close.

A federal court on Sunday upheld the Australian immigration minister cancelling the visa for Djokovic, meaning he will be deported.

Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke cancelled his visa on the grounds he might cause “civil unrest”. This is due to Djokovic’s known stance against vaccines.

The court simply dismissed his appeal and this means that the Serb will not be able to defend his Australian Open title. It is worth noting that Djokovic has won 9 titles at Australia. But he will not be able to make it 10 this year.

In a statement, Djokovic said he was disappointed at the ruling but he will cooperate with the authorities on what to do next.

He said “extremely disappointed” with the ruling, acknowledging it meant he “cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open”.

“I respect the court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” he said.

“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.

He did, however, end his statement by wishing the tournament well and hoping things went fine for everyone else.

“I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.”

Novak Djokovic and the visa saga – a timeline

On January 4, Djokovic announced on social media that he had gotten an exemption to play in Australia. At that point, few thought anything of this.

But the real issues began when the Serb touched down in Australia. He was first kept locked up as his visa was examined due to a perceived irregularity.

His visa was then cancelled by the Border Force, and by extension the federal government. This is because it was found that his visa did not allow for an exemption.

Djokovic would go on to appeal this and his appeal was successful. However, there remained a chance that his visa would again be cancelled. And this is exactly what happened.

The issue, apart from being one of rules, became one of the Australian government saving face. They did not want to be seen as weak on the issue. This is mostly because lockdowns in Australia have been among the harshest in the world.

To make things worse, Djokovic said he tested positive for COVID-19 in late December. But he was then pictured in public without a mask. He also gave an interview without a mask while having tested positive.

All in all, it did not make for a good look at all; and thus his visa was cancelled. It remains to be seen how his vaccination status will impact future events.

Sportslumo Desk

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