Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday and lost the opportunity to defend his title in the first major tournament of the season after a court authorized the cancellation of his visa and his deportation for not being vaccinated.'
I can confirm that Djokovic has already left Australia,' Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said on Twitter, who had used his powers to cancel the athlete's visa for the second time.on Friday
Three judges of the Australian Federal Court today unanimously endorsed the legality of the Australian Government's decision to revoke the tennis player's visa and rejected the appeal filed by Djokovic's defense, after a virtual hearing that was broadcast live on YouTube.
The Balkan athlete, who is not vaccinated against covid-19 and therefore violates Australia's entry laws against the pandemic, left Australia around 10:50 p.m. local time (11:50 GMT) on an Emirates airline flight. bound for Dubai. Djokovic arrived at the Melbourne airport terminal accompanied by his technical team The tennis player was escorted to the airfield by members of the Australian police while waiting for boarding,
Djokovic, who wanted to win his 10th Australian Open title and become the world's most decorated tennis player with 21 Grand Slams, is also at risk of being banned from the country for three years. Upon learning of the ruling, world number one said, that he was 'deeply disappointed' by the cancellation of his visa and asked for time to 'rest and recover' before making further comments, but said he respects ' the decision of the Australian court.
The Serbian was scheduled to make his debut Monday at the Rod Laver Arena center court, against his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic, but after the court decision, the organizers of the event replaced him with Italian Salvatore Caruso.
His arrival in Melbourne last week, with a medical exemption for not being vaccinated, generated a wave of indignation and put vaccination against covid-19 at the center of the debate, just at the moment when it was breaking out a crisis due to an astronomical increase in infections.
Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, stressed Sunday when celebrating the judicial decision that the cancellation of the visa 'was adopted for reasons of health, security, and maintenance of order, on the basis that it was in the public interest.'
Morrison, who faces an election this year, also recognized the 'sacrifice of Australians' during the pandemic and echoed public opinion in the country, where 70 percent opposed Djokovic staying in the country.
With 92 percent of the target population vaccinated and the campaign to inoculate the booster dose, Australians are trying to leave behind the harsh confinements and border closures that were applied for some 19 months to minimize the impact of covid-19 on the health of its 25 million inhabitants and the economy.
The argument of the government lawyer during the hearing was that Djokovic, whom he described as an 'anti-vaccine icon', has 'a recent history' of having ignored the measures imposed by covid-19.
'Even when he was infected he went to an interview and photoshoot which included taking off his mask,' said Stephen Lloyd, referring to Djokovic's admission that he went to an interview with French outlet L'Equipe in Belgrade on December 18 knowing that he had covid-19.
The lawyer insisted that Djokovic could 'encourage people to emulate him' in the violation of anti-virus measures. His connections to the cause, whether he likes it or not, are still present and his presence in Australia poses an overwhelming risk,' the government representative said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that Djokovic had been mistreated in a 'witch hunt' that resembled an 'Orwellian' style show.