A court has affirmed the decision by the Australian authorities to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time. The Serbian star will now be deported, meaning he is unable to defend his Grand Slam title in Melbourne.
Djokovic, 34, had been fighting for a second time to stay in the country, having seen the initial cancelation of his visa overturned by a Melbourne circuit court judge on Monday.
The government disputed that decision after the personal intervention of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke in the case, paving the way for Sunday’s hearing in front of a panel of three judges at a federal court.
Chief Justice James Allsop said the court’s ruling to uphold the immigration minister’s decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa was unanimous.
Allsop said the full bench of the federal court was not being asked to decide on the merits of the minister’s decision, but instead to review the legality of that decision.
“These grounds focus 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 merits or wisdom of the decision,” said Allsop.
The government’s case included the argument that by allowing the unvaccinated Djokovic to remain in the country, it would incite anti-vaccination sentiments among the population.
“Rightly or wrongly he’s perceived to endorse an anti-vaccination view. And his presence here seems to contribute to that and could lead to more people becoming anti-vaxxers,” government lawyer Stephen Lloyd had said.