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Novak Djokovic to be deported after losing appeal against visa cancellation

Djokovic to be deported after losing appeal against visa cancellation
© Reuters
World number one Novak Djokovic sees his appeal against having his Australian visa cancelled rejected and is set to be deported from the country.

Novak Djokovic has lost his final appeal against having his Australian visa cancelled and is now set to be deported from the country.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been embroiled in a public battle to play at this month's Australian Open due to the country's strict COVID rules and his own unvaccinated status.

Djokovic was initially denied entry to the country upon his arrival, only for a judge to overturn the original decision to have his visa revoked.

However, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke then used his ministerial powers to cancel the Serbian's visa for a second time, claiming that allowing Djokovic to play at the opening Grand Slam event of the year would risk an increase in anti-vaccine sentiment.

Djokovic appealed Hawke's decision, but a judge has now rejected that appeal to end the nine-time Australian Open champion's hopes of defending the title he has won in each of the last three years.

"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," read a statement from Djokovic.

"I respect the Court's ruling and I will 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.

"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."

Australians have lived through some of the strictest coronavirus restrictions in the world, but Djokovic's positive test in December meant that he was able to claim an exemption for entry into the country.

The tournament had represented a chance for the world number one to win a record 21st Grand Slam crown, which would have seen him move clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time list.

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Novak Djokovic in action at the Davis Cup in December 2021
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