Novak Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” after failing to overturn the decision to cancel his Australian visa.
The tennis star will now be deported from the country and will not be defending his Australian Open title.
He is also banned from Australia for three years – although that can be waived.
Here we take a look at what Djokovic said in a statement, what happened in the appeal hearing and whether the tennis star could challenge the decision.
What has Novak Djokovic said?
The nine-time Australian Open champion said he was “extremely disappointed” by the decision but would cooperate with the deportation.
He said: “I would 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.
“I am extremely disappointed with the 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.
“I respect the court’s ruling and I’ll 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. 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.”
What happened in Novak Djokovic’s visa cancellation appeal?
The three judges in the case deliberated for just over two hours before delivering their verdict just before 6pm local time in Melbourne.
Chief Justice James Allsop delivered the verdict - which was a unanimous decision - at the Federal Court of Australia on Sunday (16 January).
The judges had heard submissions from both parties earlier in the day.
However, to succeed in an appeal, Djokovic’s legal team had to prove that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke - who re-cancelled the visa on Friday (14 January) using personal powers - had either acted outside his powers or that his decision was irrational.
Hawke’s decision was based not on the validity or otherwise of Djokovic’s exemption from Covid-19 vaccination, which was the reason for the initial cancellation, but on the notion his presence in the country could stoke anti-vaccination sentiment, making him a danger to public health, as well as civil unrest.
Chief Justice Allsop made a point of stressing that the judges were not able to assess the merits of the case.
What has the reaction been to the Novak Djokovic case?
Sympathy has been in short supply for Djokovic, from both the Australian public and his fellow players.
He found an unlikely ally in Nick Kyrgios, who has been a fierce critic of the 34-year-old on other matters but has turned his ire on his country for their treatment of Djokovic.
Kyrgios reacted to the result with a facepalm emoji on Twitter.
France’s Alize Cornet wrote: “I know too little to judge the situation. What I know is that Novak is always the first one to stand for the players. But none of us stood for him. Be strong @DjokerNole”.
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