By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 16 January 2022 • 8:23
The saga surrounding Djokovic seems to be over for now as he is set to be deported after losing his visa appeal application. The full reasons behind the court’s unanimous decision will only be published in the coming days.
Having lost his appeal, Djokovic now faces a three year ban on returning to Australia, which rules him out of this and the next three Australian tournaments. The decision will be a blow to both Djokovic and to the tournament organisers having lost one of the top seeds and biggest draw cards.
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 stating that his presence in Australia posed a public health risk,
The ruling brings to an end weeks of controversy of his exemption from vaccination requirements to play at the Australian Open. His lawyers had argued that he had a coronavirus infection last month meant he could legally enter the country.
His visa revoked on arrival in Melbourne, but he won a court appeal against that cancellation which allowed him to remain in Australia. However 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.
With Djokovic to be deported, the criticism of the way the Australian government has handled the situation is unlikely to go away. However with public opinion firmly in favour of Djokovic losing his visa the decision to turn down his appeal will be widely welcomed.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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