Australian federal court upholds decision to cancel Djokovic's visa, faces deportation

The move kills off the unvaccinated tennis superstar's hopes of winning the Australian Open and racking up a record-breaking 21 men's Grand Slam titles.

Djokovic (photo credit: REUTERS)
Djokovic
(photo credit: REUTERS)

An Australian court upheld a government decision to cancel Novak Djokovic's visa on Sunday, ending the unvaccinated tennis superstar's hopes of winning the Australian Open and racking up a record-breaking 21 men's Grand Slam titles.

Ruling on a case that has gripped Australia and the sporting world for more than a week, a three-judge bench of the Federal Court heard government lawyers' arguments that Djokovic's continued presence risked whipping up anti-vaccination sentiment during Australia's worst outbreak of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

A medical exemption that allowed the Serbian tennis world number one to enter the country without being vaccinated had sparked fury in Australia and became a political issue for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has to call a federal election before May.

Tennis - Official Presentation of ATP Team Competition - The O2, London, Britain - November 15, 2018 Novak Djokovic during a press conference (credit: REUTERS)Tennis - Official Presentation of ATP Team Competition - The O2, London, Britain - November 15, 2018 Novak Djokovic during a press conference (credit: REUTERS)