After more than a week of commotion, Novak Djokovic is expected to be deported from Australia after the federal court dismissed his visa cancellation appeal.
The World No. 1 tennis star lost his appeal against his second visa cancellation and is expected to leave the country as soon as possible.
The full bench of the Federal Court made its sensational decision on Sunday after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his discretionary powers late Friday to cancel the 34-year-old Serbian's visa on health and good order grounds.
Chief Justice Allsop delivered the orders on behalf of the federal court at 5.45pm on Sunday. The written decision will be available in the coming days.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC'S FULL STATEMENT
I would like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today's Court hearing. I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.
I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister's decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.
I respect the Court's ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.
I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love. I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.
Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans and my fellow Serbians for your continued support. You have all been a great source of strength to me.
Djokovic has long been associated with vaccine hesitancy, refusing to disclose his own vaccine status in the lead up to the 2022-Australian Open. The decision to cancel the visa was due to the Immigration Minister's concern that by allowing the tennis start to stay, it could foster anti-vaccination sentiment in Australia.
Djokovic has stated he suffered from COVID-19 in December 2021, making him exempt from disclosing his vaccination status. The dates he provided coincided with public appearances during his illness.
The Djokovic saga has divided tennis fans. See some of the negative reactions below.
The saga began just over a week ago when Djokovic revealed on Instagram he was heading to Melbourne with a medical exemption from COVID-19.
He landed on January 5, but Australian Border Force officials cancelled his visa and he was placed in immigration detention alongside long-term asylum seekers.
It was later discovered the player incorrectly stated on his travel declaration form that he hadn't travelled to other countries in the two-week period before his flight to Australia, when he had, in fact, flown to Spain.
Djokovic said this was an administrative mistake and human error by his agent.
He also admitted he attended a face-to-face interview and photoshoot with a French newspaper after testing positive to COVID-19 on December 16.