- The decision likely means unvaccinated Djokovic will remain in detention until deported
- A deportation order usually also includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia.
- Earlier his visa was cancelled as Aus govt felt his presence may be risk to health and “good order”
Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic won't get to defend his title this year after the World No. 1 Serb lost his appeal against deportation from the nation on Sunday.
Earlier, Djokovic, who has won nine of his 20 Grand Slam trophies at the Australian Open (including three in a row), was scheduled to play in the main stadium at night on Day 1 of the tournament.
But the 34-year-old star in men's tennis now must leave the country after three federal court judges decided unanimously to uphold the immigration minister's right to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
Djokovic was trying to use a medical exemption to get around the requirements that everyone at the Australian Open — players, their support teams, spectators and others — be inoculated against COVID-19.
Djokovic is not vaccinated, and the government said his presence could stir up anti-vaccine sentiments.
Djokovic’s dominance in Grand Slam play of late has been particularly impressive, winning four of the last seven major tournaments and finishing as the runner-up at two others. The only time he did not get at least to the final in that span was at the 2020 US Open, where he was disqualified in the fourth round for hitting a ball that inadvertently hit a line judge in the throat after a game.
On Monday, Djokovic was supposed to play another man from Serbia, Miomir Kecmanovic, in the first round of the season's opening Grand Slam tournament. Instead, Kecmanovic will face a so-called “lucky loser” — someone who loses in qualifying rounds but gets access to the main draw because someone else withdraws after the order of play for Day 1 was released.
That lucky loser was not identified by tournament organisers, who also had no comment on Djokovic's appeal failure.
Djokovic's visa originally was cancelled when his flight arrived in Melbourne, but that decision was overturned by a judge on procedural grounds last Monday. He spent four nights in immigration detention before the first court hearing and he was confined to an immigration hotel again on Saturday while awaiting his legal challenge.
(Reported by AP)