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Djokovic to be deported from Australia after losing appeal over visa

Novak Djokovic is set to be deported from Australia after losing a court appeal against the cancellation of his visa.

Three Federal Court judges upheld a decision made on Friday by the immigration minister to cancel the unvaccinated tennis star’s visa on public interest grounds

The full reasons behind the court’s unanimous ruling will be published in the “coming days”.

Live: All the reaction to Djokovic’s visa appeal decision

Novak Djokovic departs the Park Hotel ahead of the latest hearing
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Djokovic departs the Park Hotel ahead of the latest hearing

Djokovic now faces a three-year ban on returning to the country, with the ruling coming just a day before he was due to begin the defence of his Australian Open title.

His visa was revoked for a second time on Friday after immigration minister Alex Hawke said the Serbian’s presence in Australia posed a public health risk.

Government lawyers argued that Djokovic’s continued presence risked whipping up anti-vaccination sentiment during Australia’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

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It follows the controversial decision to grant the 34-year-old an exemption from COVID vaccination requirements to play at the Australian Open.

Djokovic’s lawyers had said a coronavirus infection last month meant he could legally enter the country.

The world’s number one player first had his visa revoked on arrival in Melbourne, but he won a court appeal against that cancellation which allowed him to remain in Australia.

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.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his ninth Australian Open title - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 21, 2021
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The Serb celebrates his 2021 title

Following the second cancellation of his visa, Djokovic had returned to the immigration hotel in Melbourne where he spent four nights last week.

There has been criticism of the way the Australian government has handled the situation but public opinion has been firmly in favour of Djokovic being sent home.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has hit out at the Australian government, accusing it of “harassing” and “maltreating” Djokovic, and asking whether it is trying to score political points ahead of upcoming elections.

Djokovic – a nine-time Australian Open champion who is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam singles title – was due to play his first-round match against fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday.

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