Australian Open 2022: Novak Djokovic faces deportation after court upholds visa cancellation

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Novak Djokovic likely won’t be able to defend his Australian Open title. The tennis star, once the tournament’s No. 1 seed, lost an appeal early Sunday morning against the Australian government’s decision to cancel his visa. According to the Associated Press. He now faces deportation. If Djokovic is deported, the Australian government could ban him from the country for three years.

Three judges have upheld the immigration minister’s decision to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on grounds of public interest on Friday, saying his presence could pose a threat to the health and “good order” of the Australian public and “could be linked to the rest of Australia” Vaccination efforts are counterproductive.”

Djokovic was due to play his first match against Miomir Kekmanovic, also from Serbia, on Monday. It’s unclear if he will play or what his legal team’s options will be. However, Djokovic released a statement expressing his disappointment with the decision and said he would not be able to participate.

The controversy surrounding Djokovic’s visa and presence in Australia stems from his lack of a COVID-19 vaccine. Every player in the game must be vaccinated, but organizers can exempt players.

Djokovic was exempt and arrived in Australia in early January. He was detained shortly thereafter over visa issues with paperwork filled out by the team. A border official has cancelled Djokovic’s visa after deciding he was ineligible for a medical exemption under Australia’s rules for unvaccinated tourists.

If Djokovic is unavailable, he will go on to tie Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most men’s Grand Slam titles at 20.

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