Novak Djokovic’s fight to compete in the Australian Open came to a definitive end on Sunday after three Australian federal judges ruled in favor of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel the tennis champ’s visa.
Djokovic released a statement following the court’s ruling, saying he was “extremely disappointed” with the outcome and was “uncomfortable” that the coverage of the Grand Slam tournament had focused so heavily on his status as an unvaccinated player.
“I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open,” his statement read. “I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.”
He continued: “I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love. I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.”
Djokovic was accompanied by two government officials on his way to Melbourne airport before departing for Dubai. In his statement, he thanked his supporters and said he would be taking time to “rest and recuperate.”
ATP also released a statement saying the court’s decision must be “respected.”
“Today’s decision to uphold Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa cancellation marks the end of a deeply regrettable series of events. Ultimately, decisions of legal authorities regarding matters of public health must be respected. More time is required to take stock of the facts and to take the learnings from this situation,” the statement read.
“Irrespective of how this point has been reached, Novak is one of our sport’s greatest champions and his absence from the Australian Open is a loss for the game. We know how turbulent the recent days have been for Novak and how much he wanted to defend his title in Melbourne. We wish him well and look forward to seeing him back on court soon.”
Sunday’s decision marked the end of a back and forth between Djokovic’s camp and the Australian government that began with Djokovic being detained upon arrival after being granted a medical exemption to enter the country unvaccinated. His visa was canceled and later reinstated on procedural grounds before Hawke canceled the visa for a second time.