Dubai, United Arab Emirates –
Novak Djokovic was on his way home to Serbia after being deported from Australia because of his required COVID-19 vaccination on Monday, ending the No.1-ranked men’s tennis player’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title.
An Emirates plane carrying him from Australia landed in Dubai early Monday, and Djokovic was later seen boarding a plane due to land in the Serbian capital Belgrade at 12:10 CET. His lawyers argued in an Australian court on Sunday that he should be allowed to remain in the country and participate in tournaments under medical exemption due to coronavirus infection last month.
Djokovic has won nine Australian Open titles, including three in a row, and a total of 20 Grand Slam singles trophies, tied with most rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the history of men’s tennis. Federer is not playing with an injury and Nadal is the lone former Australian Open men’s champion in the tournament that began on Monday.
Djokovic is heavily supported in his native Serbia, where his closest family lives. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has accused the Australian government of “harassing” the top-ranked tennis star and urged him to return to where he will be welcomed.
Djokovic tested positive with coronavirus in Belgrade on 16 December, which he used as an argument to enter Australia, but his visa was initially revoked by a border official on 6 January, who decided they did not qualify for a medical exemption from Australia. Rules for illiterate visitors.
He won an appeal to remain for the tournament, but Australia’s immigration minister later revoked his visa. Three federal court judges on Sunday unanimously decided to uphold the immigration minister’s authority to revoke Djokovic’s visa.
Vaccinations amid the pandemic were a requirement for anyone attending the Australian Open, whether the players, their coaches or anyone at the tournament venue. More than 95% of all top 100 men and women in their respective rankings of visits are vaccinated. At least two men – American tennis Sandgren and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert – pulled out of the first major tournament of the year due to the need for vaccines.
Djokovic’s attempt to obtain medical exemptions for vaccinations sparked anger in Australia, where strict lockdowns in cities and restrictions on international travel have been employed to try to control the spread of the coronavirus since the pandemic began .
But Djokovic enjoys overwhelming support in his native Serbia, and President Aleksandar Vucic said the court hearings in Australia are “a joke with a lot of lies.”
Vucic told reporters, “He thinks he humiliated Djokovic by this 10 days of harassment, and he really humiliated himself. If you said that someone who wasn’t vaccinated has no right to enter.” If so, Novak won’t come or be vaccinated.”