Novak Djokovic news: It’s all over for world No 1 as he loses appeal and court confirms his deportation

Australian Open
Novak Djokovic gesturing

Novak Djokovic will NOT defend his Australian Open title after the world No 1 lost his appeal case with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia ordering that he be deported.

The decision by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time on Friday was unanimously upheld by Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan.

They found that the Serbian did not have grounds to dispute the deportation order and it means he will have to leave Australia.

“The orders of the court are, one: the amended application to be dismissed,” Judge Allsop said. “Two: reasons to be published at a later date.”

During arguments, Djokovic’s defence said Mr Hawke misinterpreted media reports about the tennis star’s stance on vaccination with Nick Wood, acting for the Serbian, stating: “Not a single line of evidence in the material provided any specific or logical foundation whatsoever that the mere presence of Mr Djokovic in Australia in itself may somehow foster anti-vaccination sentiment.”

However, Hawke’s lawyer Stephen Lloyd countered:

“The minister was aware his decision to cancel would result in some level of further unrest but the minister was principally concerned that Mr Djokovic’s presence would encourage people to emulate his position and that would put the health of Australians at risk,” said Lloyd.

On the issue of whether it was fair to present Djokovic as taking an anti-vaccination stance, Lloyd said: “His ongoing non-vaccination status is open to infer that a person in the applicant’s position could have been vaccinated if he wanted to be.

“Even before vaccines were available he was against it – his prima facie position was to be against them.”

Sunday’s ruling means Djokovic is facing a potential three-year ban from travelling to Australia and will be permitted to return only in “compelling circumstances that affect the national interest”.

It brings to an end the drawn-out saga which started on January 4 when Djokovic announced that he was given an exemption to compete at the Australian Open.

However, he was detained by Australian Border Force upon his arrival in Melbourne as they deemed that “he failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia”.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner appealed the decision as Judge Anthony Kelly quashed the visa cancellation and ordered the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention within half an hour.

However, the saga took another twist on Friday when Hawke decided to withdraw the visa for a second time on different grounds.

It is yet to be confirmed when he will leave Australia, but he was due to start his Australian Open defence against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in Monday’s evening session at Rod Laver Arena, but will be removed from the draw.

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