Novak Djokovic has officially left Australia following his visa cancellation saga, the country’s Immigration Minister has confirmed.
Today’s decision to deport the world No.1 tennis player ended a dramatic 11-day legal dispute over whether Djokovic would be able to play at the Australian Open.
Having seen his visa rejected upon arriving at Melbourne airport January 5 and then detained in an immigration hotel, the decision was then overturned on procedural grounds before Hawke cancelled his visa again on Friday.
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Alex Hawke took to social media to welcome today’s decision by the Full Federal Court of Australia to deport the Serb, who will now miss the chance to defend his title at next week’s Australian Open.
A statement from Hawke read: ‘I welcome today’s unanimous decision by the Full Federal Court of Australia, upholding my decision to exercise my power under the Migration Act to cancel Mr Novak Djokovic’s visa in the public interest.
‘Australia’s strong border protection policies have kept us safe during the pandemic. resulting in one of the lowest death rates, strongest economic recoveries, and highest vaccination rates in the world.
‘Strong border protection policies are also fundamental to safe-guarding Australia’s social cohesion which continues to strengthen despite the pandemic.
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‘Australians have made great sacrifices to get to this point and the Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting this position, as the Australian people expect.
‘To date around 43 million vaccination doses have been administered in Australia and more than 91.6% of Australian aged 16 years and over are fully vaccinated.
‘Accordingly, Australia has been able to commence a step-by-step, safe reopening of its international border as a result of this successful vaccination program.’
The 34-year-old reigning champion, who isn’t vaccinated against coronavirus, had his visa cancelled for a second time on Friday, despite initially winning an appeal over his deportation just days earlier.
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Immigration Minister Hawke said the decision was made on ‘health and public order grounds’ at the time and claimed the Serb’s presence in the country had the potential to stoke anti-vax sentiment and discourage people from getting boosters.
Djokovic, who had been set to kick off the defence of his title tomorrow, has expressed his ‘disappointment’ at the ruling but agreed to cooperate with the Australian authorities.
Last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev is now the favourite for the title with the first Grand Slam of the year running from Monday, January 17 to Sunday, January 30.
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