Novak Djokovic faces deportation from Australia after the Federal Court upheld Immigration Minister Alex Hawke's decision to cancel his visa. As things stand, the nine-time Australian Open champion will not be allowed to play the Melbourne Slam this year.
The decision was unanimous, as per the statement issued by the Court. The three judges, who made up the full bench of the Federal Court, agreed that there wasn't sufficient ground to overturn Djokovic's visa cancelation.
A deportation order usually also comes with a three-year ban on returning to Australia. However, it is rumored that this part might be waived off in the Serb's case.
To add salt to his wounds, Novak Djokovic has also been ordered by the court to cover the costs of the government's legal team.
The World No. 1 saw his visa getting canceled for the first time on 6 January, right after reaching Melbourne. In that instance, the Australian Border Force denied the Serb's entry because they believed he hadn't provided enough evidence to support his medical exemption.
Djokovic challenged the procedural fairness of this decision in the Federal Circuit Court and subsequently won the trial, after which his visa was re-instated. But Alex Hawke canceled Djokovic's visa for a second time on 14 January, on the grounds that his presence could fuel anti-vaxxer sentiment in Australia.
The Serb and his legal team asked for a judicial review of Hawke's decision, but couldn't get a favorable verdict in the hearing on Sunday.
Chief Justice Allsop, who presided over the case, said the court had been asked to review Alex Hawke's decision "for the lawfulness or legality of the decision." He also explained that the court's decision was not influenced by the "merits or wisdom of the decision," but rather by the rationality of the entire process.
That said, the full reasons for the verdict have not been disclosed yet; they will most likely be announced on Monday.
While it is legally still possible for Novak Djokovic to challenge Sunday's verdict in the High Court, his lawyers have indicated they do not wish to pursue any further action.
Novak Djokovic to be replaced by lucky loser Salvatore Caruso in Australian Open draw
Novak Djokovic, who was slated to face countryman Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round of the 2022 Australian Open, will be replaced by lucky loser Salvatore Caruso in the main draw.
It remains to be seen whether Caruso will take on Kecmanovic at the Rod Laver Arena or if their match is shifted elsewhere.