Novak Djokovic has left Australia after losing his appeal against the cancellation of his visa.
The court upheld the decision by Australia’s immigration minister Alex Hawke to revoke the world No.1’s visa for a second time. Djokovic had initially had his visa cancelled for failing to adequately meet the criteria for a medical exemption.
However, that decision was overturned by a federal court only for Hawke to re-cancel the visa on “health and good order grounds”. The nine-time Australian Open champion again launched an appeal, but the decision was upheld, and Djokovic would leave the country a few hours later.
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The world No. 1’s lawyers argued that the decision by the Australian government was “illogical, irrational or unreasonable”.
Chief Justice James Allsop – explaining the decision made by a three-judge panel - said that the court’s ruling focused on whether the decision to deport Djokovic was irrational to the point that it was unlawful rather than “the merits or wisdom of the decision”, reported the Guardian.
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Djokovic said in a statement that he was "extremely disappointed" but would co-operate with the decision.
"I would like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today's Court hearing. I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this," began Djokovic.
"I will co-operate 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.
"Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans and my fellow Serbians for your continued support. You have all been a great source of strength to me."
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The 20-time Grand Slam winner was due to begin the defence of his Australian Open title on Monday against Miomir Kecmanovic. The decision to deport Djokovic denies the world No. 1 the opportunity to win a record-extending 10th crown at Melbourne Park.
The 34-year-old’s pursuit of a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title will have to wait until the French Open at Roland Garros. He currently sits on 20 Major titles alongside Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
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