Djokovic 'disappointed' with losing deportation appeal
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic said he was disappointed that a court on Sunday dismissed his challenge to a deportation order and accepted his hopes of playing at the Australian Open were dashed.
The top-ranked tennis star released a statement shortly after three Federal Court judges unanimously upheld a decision made on Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds because he is not vaccinated for COVID-19.
“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.
“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” he added.
Djokovic said he was “uncomfortable” that the focus had been on him since his visa was first canceled on arrival at Mebourne's airport on Jan. 6.
“I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love,” he said.
The decision likely means that Djokovic, who is not vaccinated for COVID-19, will remain in detention in Melbourne until he is deported.
Deportation usually occurs as soon as possible after an order unless prevented by court action. The government has not said when Djokovic will leave.
A deportation order also usually includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia.
Chief Justice James Allsop said the ruling came down to whether the minister's decision was "irrational or legally unreasonable.”
Hawke welcome the decision. His office did not immediately provide detail of how or when Djokovic would leave.
“Australia’s strong border protection policies...