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MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic’s hopes of playing at the Australian Open were dashed Sunday after a court dismissed the top-ranked tennis star’s appeal against a deportation order.
Three Federal Court judges upheld a decision made on Friday by the immigration minister to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds.
The decision likely means that Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, will remain in detention in Melbourne until he is deported.
Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia gestures during a practice session on Margaret Court Arena ahead of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.
A deportation order usually also includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia.
The minister canceled the visa on the grounds that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may be a risk to the health and “good order” of the Australian public and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.”
Djokovic’s visa was initially canceled on Jan. 6 at Melbourne’s airport hours after he arrived to compete in the first Grand Slam of 2022.
Novak Djokovic sits in the back of car arriving at an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne, Australia Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
A border official canceled his visa after deciding Djokovic didn’t qualify for a medical exemption from Australia’s rules for unvaccinated visitors.
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