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Australian Open: 'Extremely disappointed' Djokovic will not appeal deportation order

By Daniel Lewis

Melbourne, January 16: Novak Djokovic is "extremely disappointed" to have lost his fight to compete at the Australian Open but "respects" the decision and will not mount fresh legal action.

The world number one learned on Sunday (January 16) that his second appeal to reinstate his visa had been rejected unanimously by three judges at the Federal Court in Melbourne.

Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, had been due to begin his latest title defence against Miomir Kecmanovic on Monday but will instead now be deported from the country.

While disappointed at the decision, the 20-time grand slam winner will cooperate with the authorities in relation to his departure from the country.

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic set to be deported after losing appealAustralian Open: Novak Djokovic set to be deported after losing appeal

In a statement released shortly after the verdict, Djokovic said: "I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.

"I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister's decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.

"I respect the Court's ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country."

Novak Djokovic detained again at Melbourne, Australian Open fate to be decided on SundayNovak Djokovic detained again at Melbourne, Australian Open fate to be decided on Sunday

Sunday's verdict looks set to bring an end to a long-running saga that began when Djokovic was held at an airport in Melbourne when he arrived in the country on January 6.

The 34-year-old won an appeal to overturn the first bid to deport him from the country, but immigration minister Alex Hawke used his powers to again cancel the visa on Friday.

That decision was taken amid much backlash in Australia, which has strict coronavirus restrictions, while some leading players have lamented how the tournament has been overshadowed by the Djokovic drama.

But after losing his latest appeal, the Serbian hopes that all focus can now be on the first grand slam of the year, which begins on Monday.

Australian Open: Amid a crisis, a tennis tournament, as stars hunt grand slam gloryAustralian Open: Amid a crisis, a tennis tournament, as stars hunt grand slam glory

"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," he added in his statement.

"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."

Full reasons for the court's ruling will be published "in the coming days".

Djokovic could now be banned from the country for the next three years as that is the punishment that usually comes with a deportation order.

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Story first published: Sunday, January 16, 2022, 15:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 16, 2022