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Novak Djokovic to be DEPORTED from Australia

NOVAK Djokovic is set to be deported today after losing his appeal against the cancellation of his visa.

The world No1 will NOT defend his title in the Australian Open as he’s forced out of the country after lawyers claimed he’s become an “icon” for anti-vaxxers.

Djokovic is being booted out of Australia after losing his appeal
Djokovic is being booted out of Australia after losing his appealCredit: EPA
It means the champ will be unable to defend his title at the Australian Open
Credit: Reuters

He’s one of just three players inside the ATP’s top 100 who have not been vaccinated.

Three judges have unanimously dismissed his last-ditch appeal to stay Down Under and play.

The star could now be frog-marched to the airport under armed guard, it’s believed.

He met with immigration officials and Border Force for a secret showdown at an undisclosed location yesterday before government lawyers later argued he poses an “overwhelming risk” to the public.

They claim this was demonstrated by his decision to attend work events while infected with Covid.

Djokovic met with at least 25 kids at three events in Serbia while positive for the virus, and faces jail for flouting isolation rules, it’s reported. He said he didn’t receive the results of his test until after the meetings.

He was pictured speaking with Border Force officials at the airport on January 5 before being taken to an immigration hotel
Credit: Reuters

TENNIS ACE BOOTED OUT

“The Commonwealth should not be bound to suffer the presence of an alien for fear of what might happen if they were removed,” Aus lawyer Stephen Lloyd said last night.

“Rightly or wrongly, he is perceived to endorse an anti-vaccination view.”

However, the ace’s legal team hit back – and rebuffed claims that he has a “well-known stance on vaccination”.

Nick Wood, representing Djokovic, said comments he made about vaccines in April 2020 are not necessarily relevant – and he has not publicly aligned himself with either those in favour of jabs or those against.

The legal eagle said the star is “not an expert” and would do what’s best for his body, Mr Wood said – adding that the minister who ordered Djokovic out is “not permitted to cancel a visa based on an evidence-free figment of his imagination.”

The saga over Djokovic’s jab status began when his visa was revoked when he first landed in Aus.

The Serbian 20-time Grand Slam champ was given his marching orders following a six-hour stand-off at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport.

News from the courtroom:

  • Three judges have unanimously decided Djokovic doesn’t have grounds to dispute Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s deportation order
  • The tennis ace’s legal team failed in their bid to prove Mr Hawke acted irrationally or legally unreasonably
  • Justice Allsop said he accepted Djokovic could be seen as “an iconic sports star that is setting an example that is not ideal to be followed” over his anti-vaxxer status
  • Lawyers for the government argued the star poses an “overwhelming risk” to the Australian public after he met with Serbian children while infected with Covid
  • It’s not yet known whether Djokovic will be banned from applying for an Australian visa for the next three years

He had initially been granted a vaccine exemption – his lawyers said, because he contracted Covid-19 in December – to compete before his visa was dramatically cancelled.

Djokovic was rushed to an immigration hotel, despite pleading to be moved to more elaborate digs with a tennis court or to have his private chef provide vegan meals – requests which were denied.

A judge then ordered his passport to be handed back – saying he was “agitated” about the case and asking: “What more could this man have done?”

However, in a twist, Djokovic was reportedly arrested as the government revoked his visa again.

His supporters were pepper-sprayed by cops in the street after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his powers on “health and good order” grounds.

Djokovic’s legal team appealed the decision overnight.

But their pleas for him to remain in Australia were overruled, and he’ll likely be escorted to the airport and forced aboard a plane home today.

‘NOT A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR FANS’

Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko and Justice David O’Callaghan unanimously decided Djokovic did not have grounds to dispute Hawke’s deportation order. 

Justice Allsop earlier said he accepted Djokovic could be seen as “an iconic sports star that is setting an example that is not ideal to be followed”.

“If Mr Djokovic won the Open, as he has in the past, there is an example embedded in the Minister’s reasoning that this is an example for young and not so young fans of tennis,” he said.

Government officials have not yet said whether they’ll take up their option to ban Djokovic from applying for a visa to enter the country again for the next three years.

The star has faced huge backlash from Australians, who have been split on the decision to detain him.

More than 83,000 people tuned in to the Federal Court livestream of the proceedings to watch the showdown, while his supporters gathered in the streets outside.

He has not openly spoken about his jab status, but has previously admitted he was “opposed” to vaccination.

He told reporters: “Personally I am opposed to vaccination.

“I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.”

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