Djokovic loses deportation appeal in Australia

Djokovic loses deportation appeal in Australia
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© Thomson Reuters Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic departs the Park Hotel while under immigration detention, to convene with his legal team after his visa to play in the Australian Open was cancelled a second time, in Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2022. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Novak Djokovic’s hopes of playing at the Australian Open were dashed Sunday after a court dismissed the top-ranked tennis star’s appeal against a deportation order.

Three Federal Court judges upheld a decision made on Friday by the immigration minister to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds.

The decision likely 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’s visa was initially cancelled on Jan. 6 at Melbourne’s airport hours after he arrived to compete in the first Grand Slam of 2022.

A border official cancelled his visa after deciding Djokovic didn’t qualify for a medical exemption from Australia’s rules for unvaccinated visitors.

-AP

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