International

Djokovic leaves Australia, says he is ‘disappointed’ court dismissed deportation appeal

Associated Press

Tennis star Novak Djokovic on Sunday said he was “disappointed” after a court dismissed his deportation appeal earlier that day, ending his hopes of remaining in Australia for the country’s Grand Slam tournament.

“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” Djokovic added in a statement, according to The Associated Press.

The Serbian tennis player also said he was “uncomfortable” that he became the center of much attention after his visa was first canceled at a Melbourne airport earlier this month.

“I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love,” he said, the AP noted.

Djokovic departed Australia on Sunday, according to Reuters, closing out a roughly 10-day saga as the tennis star looked to secure his 10th win at the Australian Open. He reportedly left from Melbourne on an Emirates flight headed to Dubai.

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke canceled Djokovic’s visa for a second time on Friday for “health and good order,” noting that it was in the public’s interest to do so, according to The New York Times. Hawke’s decision came days after a Federal Circuit Court judge in Australia had ruled that Djokovic could remain in the country.

Hours after Hawke’s decision on Friday, lawyers for the tennis star challenged the decision. The case eventually made it to Federal Court on Saturday.

On Sunday, a panel of three judges rejected Djokovic’s appeal, according to the AP.

The Australian Open said it “respects the decision of the Federal Court.” The No. 1 seed in the tournament, which was held by Djokovic, has since been filled.

“We look forward to a competitive and exciting Australian Open 2022 and wish all players the best of luck,” the tournament added in a statement.

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