Tennis World No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost the bid to restore his Australian visa on Sunday, a day before the start of Australian Open. With the full federal court rejecting his bid, he will be deported from Australia.
This brings an end to the unvaccinated tennis superstar’s hopes of winning the Australian Open and racking up a record-breaking 21 men’s Grand Slam titles.
In a ruling that has gripped the entire nation and tennis fans around the world, the Serbian’s challenge to the decision of Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke was rejected by a three-judge bench of the Federal Court. Hawke cancelled the tennis star’s visa on the basis that his presence in Australia might risk ‘civil unrest’ as he is a ‘talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment’
A deportation order usually also includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia.
Djokovic’s visa was initially cancelled on Jan. 6 at Melbourne’s airport hours after he arrived to compete in the first Grand Slam of 2022. A border official cancelled his visa after deciding Djokovic didn’t qualify for a medical exemption from Australia’s rules for unvaccinated visitors.
The medical exemption that allowed Djokovic one to enter the country without being vaccinated had sparked fury in Australia, and became a political issue for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has to call a federal election before May.