Tennis ace Novak Djokovic deported after losing court battle in Australia visa case


CANBERRA – Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic has been deported from Australia after losing a court battle in the visa revocation case.

The full Federal Court of three justices turned down the petition filed by the unvaccinated tennis star after Immigration minister Alex Hawke cancelled his visa on “health and good order” grounds.

Djokovic expressed disappointment over the ruling that he has accepted. He has left for Dubai.

The ruling brought a 10-day saga to an end, in which the athlete fought to stay in the country to defend his title in the Australian Open.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed “the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe”. However, his government faced backlash at home and abroad for its handling of the matter.

During Sunday’s court hearing, Djokovic’s counsel unsuccessfully argued that the grounds given by the government to cancel his client’s visa were illogical.

Chief Justice James Allsop said the court ruling was based on the legality of the minister’s decision, not on whether it was the right decision to make.

On Saturday, Australia shifted the 34-year-old tennis ace to detention facility, expressing fear that his opposition to vaccination could trigger “civil unrest”.

It was the second bid to oust the unvaccinated Djokovic from the country as the athlete earlier won the case against cancellation of his visa.

Djokovic will remain in the Melbourne immigration detention facility until the court issued a ruling on the new appeal scheduled to be heard on Sunday.

For millions around the world, Djokovic is best known as all-conquering tennis champion with a ferocious backhand and his anti-vaccine stance.

Last week, Novak Djokovic won his court battle in Australia after his visa revoked for refusing to get inoculated against Covid-19.

Overturning the cancellation of his visa on Covid-19 health grounds, the court issued order ending his detention in a setback to the government.

In an emergency online court hearing, the judge ordered that the decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa “be quashed”.

The judge ordered that the unvaccinated tennis star “be released immediately and forthwith from immigration detention”.

“Such release must occur no later than 30 minutes after the making of this order,” he added.

On January 6, tennis world number one Novak Djokovic filed an appeal against deportation from Australia after the government revoked his visa.

The vaccine-sceptic Serb was stopped by border officials on arrival to Australia late on Wednesday and denied entry into the country.

He was held at an immigration detention facility in Melbourne and faces deportation. Djokovic had flown into the city’s Tullamarine Air-port expecting to defend his Australian Open crown, and to bid for an unprecedented 21st Grand Slam title.

He had claimed on Instagram that he had obtained an exemption to play in the tournament, which begins on January 17, without being vacci-nated.

The 34-year-old has refused to reveal his vac-cine status publicly, but has previously voiced op-position to being jabbed. He contracted Covid at least once.

But instead of a conquering champion’s return, Djokovic never made it past border control.

Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Djokovic had failed to provide officials with evidence of double vaccination or an adequate medical exemption.

“Rules are rules and there are no special cases,” Morrison said. Australian border officials ques-tioned the sports star overnight and revoked his visa citing a failure to “provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements”.

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