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End of the saga : Djokovic’s visa remains revoked and he will not participate in Australian Open

The latest appeal of Novak Djokovic to have his visa reinstated has been denied. The world No 1 will not play the Australian Open and deportation is imminent.

Novak Djokovic, Melbourne airport, 2022 © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Novak Djokovic‘s last-ditch attempt to play the Australian Open has been shut down by the Australian Federal government. The nine-time champion lost his case on Sunday as the three judges – Justice Allsop, Justice Besanko and Justice O’Callaghan of the Federal Court of Australia – voted unanimously to uphold the decision taken on Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

During his final comments, Justice Allsop made it clear that what had occurred on Sunday during the day-long hearing was a review of Hawke’s decision, for lawfulness.

In his final comments Allsop said:

“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.”

It is an application to the court as a separate arm of government

Justice Allsop, Federal Court of Australia

Since Hawke’s decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa was deemed legal and reasonable, Djokovic’s “application” (also referred to as an appeal) has been denied and the world No 1’s visa will remain revoked. Additionaly he has been ordered to pay the legal expenses of the Federal Government for Sunday’s hearing.

The world No 1’s legal team asked for time to discuss the decision, and the court adjourned for 30 minutes. At the time Djokovic’s team did not indicate that they were considering taking any further legal action.

Djokovic statement: “I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love.”

Shortly after the case was concluded, Djokovic released an emailed statement to the media.

“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.

“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.”

World No 150 Caruso in as lucky loser

Djokovic will be replaced in the top line of the Australian Open draw by Italian lucky loser Salvatore Caruso, the world No 150.

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