Djokovic finally deported from Australia Novak Djokovic

MELBOURNE. — Novak Djokovic has officially left Australia following his visa cancellation saga, the country’s Immigration Minister has confirmed.

Alex Hawke took to social media to welcome yesterday’s decision by the Full Federal Court of Australia to deport the world No.1 tennis player who will now miss the chance to defend his title at this week’s Australian Open.

A statement from Hawke read: “I welcome today’s unanimous decision by the Full Federal Court of Australia, upholding my decision to exercise my power under the Migration Act to cancel Mr Novak Djokovic’s visa in the public interest.

“Australia’s strong border protection policies have kept us safe during the pandemic, resulting in one of the lowest death rates, strongest economic recoveries, and highest vaccination rates in the world.

“Strong border protection policies are also fundamental to safe-guarding Australia’s social cohesion which continues to strengthen despite the pandemic.

“Australians have made great sacrifices to get to this point and the Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting this position, as the Australian people expect.

“To date around 43 million vaccination doses have been administered in Australia and more than 91.6% of Australian aged 16 years and over are fully vaccinated.

“Accordingly, Australia has been able to commence a step-by-step, safe reopening of its international border as a result of this successful vaccination programme.’’

And absence of Djokovic will be keenly felt at Melbourne Park today as a lucky loser takes the place of a 20-times Grand Slam champion when the first round of the Australian Open gets underway today.

Djokovic had been scheduled to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the late match at Rod Laver Arena but the nine-time champion will be nowhere near the centre court after losing his bid to overturn a second visa cancellation.

Seeing Djokovic play after a dramatic week of court challenges and fan protests would have been appointment viewing around the world, not least to see the reception of the crowd in a country where his refusal to vaccinate for Covid-19 has triggered outrage.

Instead, home hero and women’s top seed Ash Barty will take top billing today when she opens her campaign for a first Australian Open title against Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko. Wimbledon champion Barty will appear in the first match of the evening session at Rod Laver Arena, as the order of play stood yesterday.

AFP.

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