Novak Djokovic will leave Australia on Sunday after losing an appeal to overturn his second visa cancellation. Judges upheld the Australian government’s decision to kick the world number one out of the country following his stance on Covid-19 vaccine and being unvaccinated. 

Three Federal Court judges upheld a decision made on Friday by the immigration minister to cancel the 34-year-old Serb’s visa on public interest grounds.

 Reports on Saturday suggested that the new visa cancellation was an attempt to make sure anti-vaxxers don’t get to feel some measure of victory in their resistance to getting the jab which pro-vaxxers believe has in a way contributed to the continued spread of the virus across the world with new variants. 

The Serbian was supposed to participate in the Australian Open that commences on Monday as he aimed to win a record 21st Grand Slam.

Djokovic first had his visa cancelled on January 6 after he failed to provide appropriate evidence to receiving a vaccine exemption.

Fellow Tennis star, Rafael Nadal weighed in on the controversy saying that no player is bigger than the Australian Open and that whatever was the outcome of Djokovic’s appeal the competition will go on. 

There was the possibility of a further legal challenge but it was confirmed half an hour after the ruling that Djokovic was not seeking that option.

“I am extremely disappointed with the 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,” Djokovic told Australia’s Age newspaper after the ruling.

“I respect the court’s ruling and I’ll 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.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

“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.”