After much controversy around Novak Djokovic‘s participation at the 2022 Australian Open, the final verdict on the case was delivered on 16th January, Sunday. Having earlier won the court appeal when he was stopped from entering Melbourne airport, the second appeal did not go his way.
As expected, Australian Immigration minister Alex Hawke exercised his power to cancel the visa of Djokovic and begin the process of deporting him while the lawyers of Novak started preparing for another court battle which they lost eventually as the court voted unanimously in favour of staying with the decision of the minister and did not grant the Australian visa to Djokovic.
Shortly after Novak issued a statement from his end ‘accepting‘ the decision and agreed to cooperate with authorities for his deportation. Similarly, Hawke also gave out a statement where he thanked the court for ruling in the favour of his decision to cancel his visa and vote in their favour as opposed to the previous appeal which the Serbian had won.
“I welcome today’s unanimous decision by the Full Federal Court of Australia, upholding my decision to exercise my power under the Migration Act to cancel Mr. Novak Djokovic’s in public interest. Strong border protection policies are also fundamental to safe-guarding Australia’s social cohesion which continues to strengthen despite the Pandemic,” wrote Hawke in his statement.
Novak Djokovic removed from the 2022 Australian Open draws
Djokovic was officially removed from the main-draw of the 2022 Australian Open shortly after the verdict was released from the court. The player has been since replaced by lucky loser Salvatore Caruso who is ranked 150th in the world and was the 29th seed in the qualifiers, going out in straight-sets in the final qualifier. However, Djokovic’s removal sees him enter the main-draw.
As for the tournament, there will be no former champion in the main-draw apart from Rafael Nadal who won the title way back in 2009, meaning no former champion in 12 years will be playing at the Grand Slam this year in the men’s singles discipline and one can expect a new addition to the list of Australian Open champions this year if Nadal fails to win the title.