Novak Djokovic is set to be deported from Australia after losing a court appeal against the cancellation of his visa.
The unvaccinated tennis star now faces a three-year ban on returning to the country, with the ruling coming just a day before he was due to begin the defence of his Australian Open title.
Djokovic’s visa was revoked for a second time on Friday after immigration minister Alex Hawke said the Serbian’s presence in Australia posed a public health risk.
Live: All the reaction to Djokovic’s visa appeal decision
It follows the controversy over the decision to grant Djokovic an exemption from COVID vaccination requirements to play at the Australian Open.
Lawyers for the men’s world number one had said a coronavirus infection last month meant he could legally enter the country.
Djokovic first had his visa revoked on arrival in Melbourne, but he won a court appeal against that cancellation which allowed him to remain in Australia.
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He later acknowledged that his travel declaration was incorrect because it failed to indicate that he had been in multiple countries in the two-week period before his arrival in Australia.
Djokovic also admitted being interviewed in person by a journalist from a French magazine in December, even though he had tested positive for COVID the day before.
Following the second cancellation of his visa, Djokovic had returned to the immigration hotel in Melbourne where he spent four nights last week.
There has been criticism of the way the Australian government has handled the situation but public opinion has been firmly in favour of Djokovic being sent home.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has hit out at the Australian government, accusing it of “harassing” and “maltreating” Djokovic, and asking whether it is trying to score political points ahead of upcoming elections.
Djokovic – a nine-time Australian Open champion who is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam singles title – was due to play his first-round match against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.
Source : Sky News