World number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic who was unvaccinated, is now facing a three-year ban from entering Australia, after judges denied his appeal to remain in the country and play in the Australian Open. Authorities canceled the unvaccinated player’s visa for the second time this month on” public health” grounds.
He was “extremely disappointed” but respected the ruling. he said in a statement, “I will co-operate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.”
The verdict came just one day before the Australian Open, and he now risks a three-year ban from returning to the nation. On Monday, he was supposed to play his debut game.
It comes after the controversial decision to exclude the 34-year-old from COVID immunization regulations to compete in the Australian Open.
The world number one player’s visa was first revoked upon his arrival in Melbourne, but he won a court appeal to have it reinstated, allowing him to stay in Australia.
Djokovic’s lawyers claimed that a coronavirus infection last month allowed him to enter the nation legally.
After a judge overturned the judgment, finding that border personnel had broken protocol when he arrived, the government again intervened to withdraw the visa last Friday.
On Friday, Djokovic’s visa was denied for the second time after immigration minister Alex Hawke declared that Serbian’s presence in Australia was a public health concern.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has slammed Australia’s administration, accusing it of “harassing” and “maltreating” Djokovic and questioning whether it is attempting to score political points ahead of the next elections.
Although there has been criticism of the Australian government’s handling of the incident, popular opinion has overwhelmingly supported Djokovic’s return to Serbia.
Djokovic has been held at an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne since his visa was denied on January 6, the same spot he was kept when his visa was first revoked.
Attorneys for the government stated that Djokovic risked inflaming anti-vaccination sentiment during Australia’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began.
The entire grounds for the judges’ unanimous decision will be made public in the “coming days,” and Djokovic will be required to pay the government’s court expenses.
A nine-time Australian Open champion chasing a record 21st Grand Slam singles title, Djokovic was scheduled to play fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round on Monday. A lucky loser will now take his position in the draw.