Last Updated on 16 Jan 2022 11:40 am (UK Time)
Tennis star Novak Djokovic says he will accept the country’s ruling and will co-operate with his departure from Australia, but he is “extremely disappointed” by the decision.
Judges dismissed a bid from the Serbian for a government decision to have his visa cancelled overturned.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke had personally cancelled Djokovic’s visa on Friday, arguing his presence in Australia could incite “civil unrest” and encourage others to avoid vaccination against Covid-19.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has told the BBC Novak Djokovic was “tortured and tormented” by the Australian government and “treated like a mass murderer”.
He said the decision taken today could have been made 10 days ago, and that he has “no doubt” Djokovic would have been treated “totally differently” if he wasn’t from Serbia.
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Vucic said: “He came to Australia with a medical exemption proposal and then you were mistreating him for 10 days. Why did you do it? Doing a witch hunt against him? This is something that no one can understand.”
He added: “I believe that Novak is not humiliated. The people who are humiliated are those who organised this witch hunt process.”
The 34-year-old was expected to be able to compete in this year’s Australian Open, after having his Visa cancellation overturned by Judge Anthony Kelly, following the challenge he made on an order by the Australian government, revoking his entry Visa.
However, Australian Open organisers say they will now “respect the decision of the court”.
A “lucky loser,” Italian player Salvatore Caruso, will replace the world number one in the tournament which begins on Monday.