Deported Novak Djokovic boards flight to Serbia as Australian Open begins without defending champion

Novak Djokovic missed the Australian Open after being deported (Pictures: AP/Getty)

Novak Djokovic and his team were this morning travelling back to Serbia after being deported from Australia.

Djokovic’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title and winning a record 21st Grand Slam were ended as he was deported from the country on ‘health and good order grounds’.

The tennis world number one, who has not received a Covid vaccination, was given a medical exemption to play in the tournament after testing positive for the virus in December.

However, Djokovic was denied entry on January 6 for not meeting federal coronavirus requirements. His visa was also revoked.

Djokovic successfully appealed the decision but Immigration Minister Alex Hawke then used his ministerial powers to cancel his visa for a second time.

Another appeal was not successful and Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday, with the Serbian star travelling to Dubai and then boarding a flight to Belgrade on Monday morning.

Djokovic arrived in Dubai on Sunday after his controversial deportation (Picture: AP)

Following his deportation verdict, Djokovic said in a statement: ‘I would like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today’s Court hearing.

‘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.

The tennis world number one was hoping to defend his Australian Open title (Picture: Reuters)

‘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.

‘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.’

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed ‘the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe’.

‘Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected,’ he added.

More to follow…


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