No. 1 Tennis Star Novak Djokovic Deported And Misses Australian Open Tournament

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Novak Djokovic, ranked as the world’s No. 1 tennis player, has lost his final legal battle to stay in Australia and play in the Australian Open. He has been deported and has already left the country.

Djokovic’s legal troubles stemmed from being unvaccinated against Covid-19, which is strictly monitored under Australia’s strict pandemic rules. A court unanimously dismissed Djokovic’s challenge of a government minister’s decision to cancel his visa.

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After the ruling, Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” but respected the decision. He released his statement after three Federal Court judges unanimously upheld a decision made Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa on public interest grounds.

His removal means that the player with the most Australian Open wins (Djokovic has nine, including three in a row) won’t be able to try for a 10th. Djokovic departed at 11 PM local time on a flight to Dubai.

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

The ruling and Djokovic’s departure ends a battle that began at the Melbourne airport on Jan. 6. His visa was canceled on arrival.

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