Tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening, facing a three-year visa ban after an appeals court in the country revoked his visa.
Driving the news: Djokovic will not be able to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts in Melbourne. The World No. 1 is looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam men’s singles titles.
The big picture: Djokovic’s visa was revoked twice by Australian officials, who labeled the 34-year-old a public health threat.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement that he exercised his power to cancel Djokovic’s visa “on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”
A lawyer for Djokovic asked a court for an injunction preventing his removal from Australia.
What he’s saying: Djokovic in a statement Sunday said he was “extremely disappointed with the Court ruling[.]”
“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.”
Djokovic said he will “rest and to recuperate” before making any more comments.
Catch up quick: Djokovic earlier this month announced that he was traveling to Australia with a medical exemption because he tested positive for COVID in December.
Upon arriving in Melbourne for the tournament, and after eight hours of airport detention, Djokovic’s visa was cancelled by border agents due to his travel application and vaccination status.
Days later, Djokovic’s visa was reinstated on appeal after arguing that his positive test in December superseded the country’s vaccination requirement.
Then, on Friday, officials revoked Djokovic’s visa for a second time, prompting the visa appeal.
Source: Erin Doherty