The main issue preventing Djokovic from traveling to Australia has been his refusal to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The Serb, who shares a record nine Australian Open victories with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and has 20 Grand Slam victories overall, will compete in the tournament starting on Monday in Melbourne. After judges backed the government’s decision to terminate his visa and deport him, Novak Djokovic fled Australia.
The decision of the immigration minister to revoke the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on the grounds of public interest was affirmed by three justices of the Federal Court on Friday. The complete justifications for the court’s unanimous decision will be made public in the “coming days.”
Even if a further judicial challenge was a possible, it was stated a half-hour after the decision that Djokovic was not considering it. On Sunday evening local time, the footballer and his crew landed at Melbourne Airport in preparation for their return journey.
Djokovic was supposed to start his bid for a record-extending 10th Australian Open championship and 21st Grand Slam crown on Monday, but he has since been replaced in the draw. Djokovic’s issues entering Australia have been centered upon his unwillingness to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
He might be prohibited from visiting Australia for three years, with the possibility of a one-time exception for “compelling reasons that harm the national interest.”
Djokovic: I’m quite dissatisfied
Djokovic issued the following statement via Melbourne’s The Age newspaper: “In order to address the outcomes of today’s court session, I would like to make a quick remark. Before making any more comments, I shall now take some time to rest and recover.
The decision to reject my request for a judicial review of the minister’s decision to revoke my visa leaves me really sad since it prevents me from remaining in Australia to take part in the Australian Open. I will abide with the court’s decision and work with the appropriate authorities to arrange my exit from the country.
I don’t like that the previous several weeks have been about me, and I hope that now we can all concentrate on the game and competition I like. I want to wish the best of luck to all of the competitors, tournament authorities, staff, volunteers, and spectators.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to my family, friends, team, supporters, and fellow Serbians for their unwavering support. You guys have all given me a lot of courage.
Australian PM applauds the decision; Serbian President: “They think they embarrassed Djokovic, but they embarrassed themselves.”
The appeal hearing was held early on Sunday morning after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke decided on Friday to once again revoke the No. 1 in the world’s visa on the basis of “health and good order.”
The government’s legal team contended that Djokovic ran the danger of inflaming anti-vaccination sentiment during Australia’s biggest Covid-19 outbreak since the epidemic started.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated, “This cancellation decision was taken on health, safety and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.” I applaud the choice to protect Australians’ safety by maintaining our borders as they are.
“I appreciate the Court’s rapid attention to these matters and everyone’s patience as we tried to find a solution. Now is the time to continue the Australian Open and resume enjoying tennis this summer.”
In Serbia, where President Aleksandar Vucic made the following remarks as quoted by Novosti, the response was significantly different “When we last spoke, I told Novak that I was excited for him to visit Serbia and go back to his native country, where he would always be welcomed.
Family calls Novak’s behavior “scandalous”
Djokovic’s family said that “politics” was to blame for his expulsion and promised to be present to “experience the blows he endured.”
They stated in a statement: “This involved politics and all the other interests that were at play in this situation, in addition to sport and Novak’s participation in the first Grand Slam of the year, which he has controlled for the past ten years.
“Despite Novak’s treatment, which was disgusting, we still had faith in sports. Tennis Australia, which fought for exemptions to be available for players in Djokovic’s situation in face of strong public criticism, has many unanswered concerns as a result of the controversy.
The organization issued a succinct statement, saying: “Tennis Australia accepts the Federal Court’s ruling. We wish all players success and look forward to a competitive and thrilling Australian Open in 2022.”
The ATP was more forceful, calling the last week and a half of events “very regretful” and claiming that Djokovic’s absence was “a loss for the game.”