Novak Djokovic has left Australia after a last ditch effort to have his most recent visa cancellation overturned failed in Federal Court.
Djokovic was seen at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport at 10:30pm on Sunday, January 16 flanked by Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers as he boarded Emirates flight to Dubai.
Novak Djokovic leaves the Marhaba lounge at Melbourne Airport for flight back to Europe. pic.twitter.com/Rg2D1XTTwW
— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) January 16, 2022
The 34 year old lost his court appeal against the cancellation of his visa on January 16, leaving him unable to defend his title in the 2022 Australian Open. He will now face a potential three-year ban on returning to Australia.
In a statement, Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” with the court’s decision but would respect the ruling and co-operate with authorities.
“I am extremely disappointed with the ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the 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’ll co-operate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from Australia,” he said.
“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.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison welcomed the court’s decision in a statement released January 16.
“The Full Federal Court of Australia unanimously decided to dismiss Mr Novak Djokovic’s application for judicial review which sought to challenge the Minister for Immigration’s decision to cancel his visa,” he said.
“This cancellation decision was made on health, safety and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.
“I welcome the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe.
“I thank the Court for their prompt attention to these issues and the patience of all involved as we have worked to resolve this issue.
“It’s now time to get on with the Australian Open and get back to enjoying tennis over the summer.”