Tennis star Novak Djokovic has lost his chance to defend his Australian Open title after an Australian court upheld a government deportation order on Sunday.
Three Federal Court judges sided with a decision made on Friday by the immigration minister to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds.
The ruling means that Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, will remain in detention in Melbourne until he is deported.
A deportation order usually also includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia.
The minister cancelled the visa on the grounds that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia”.
Djokovic was scheduled to play his first-round Australian Open match on Monday night on a Day 1 programme announced while he was still in legal limbo.
The Australian government canceled Djokovic’s visa because of issues surrounding his stance against COVID-19 vaccination. That was four days after the Serbian star had an earlier decision to cancel his visa overturned by a court on procedural grounds.
A border official originally cancelled his visa after deciding Djokovic did not qualify for a medical exemption from Australia’s rules for unvaccinated visitors.
He spent four nights in immigration detention before the first court hearing, and he was confined to an immigration hotel again on Saturday night waiting for his appeal.
A medical exemption that allowed the Serbian star to enter the country without being vaccinated sparked fury in Australia, and became a political issue for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has to call a federal election before May.
Source: Al Jazeera
BDST: 1335 HRS, JAN 16, 2022