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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday January 15, 2022

Novak Djokovic

The World No.1 lost his case and will be deported. "I am extremely disappointed," he says in a statement.

Photo Source: Camera Sport

Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has not lost on a tennis court at Melbourne in a long time, but the Serb was defeated in Australian Federal Court on Sunday, and subsequently lost the chance to compete (and chase tennis history) at the 2022 Australian Open, which begins in less that 24 hours.

Tennis Express

After a weeks’ long battle with federal authorities over his right to play the Australian Open under a controversial vaccination exemption, Djokovic lost his case on Sunday when the three judges – Justice Allsop, Justice Besanko and Justice O’Callaghan of the Federal Court of Australia – voted unanimously to uphold the decision of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, which was made on Friday evening, based on his “personal power.”

Said Justice Allsop: “To be clear this is not an appeal against the decision of the executive government, it is an application to the court as a separate arm of government. … to review the decision of the minister for the lawfulness or legality of the decision on the three grounds put forward.

“These grounds focused on whether the decision was, for different reasons, irrational or legally unreasonable. It is no part of the function of the court to decide upon the merit or wisdom of the decision.”

Hawked exercised his personal power after Djokovic had won his first appeal and temporary regained his visa last week. Court documents showed that Immigration Minister Hawke expressed worry that Djokovic, by being allowed to stay and play the Australian Open, would incite anti-vaccination sentiments across the country.

Djokovic’s legal team, led by Nicolas Wood, argued against the reasoning on Sunday in a day-long hearing, but they could not prove that Hawke’s decision had been made illegally or unreasonably.

The World No.1 will be replaced in the draw by lucky loser Salvatore Caruso, the World No.150.

Shortly after the case concluded, Djokovic’s team decided that no further legal action would be taken. The Serb released a statement via email about the situation.

“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,” he said.

“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country. 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.”


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