Novak Djokovic loses visa battle, to be deported from Australia: Check full timeline of events

An Australian Federal Court panel dismissed the Novak Djokovic's appeal challenging Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa. Check Full Timeline of events.

Novak Djokovic loses visa appeal against Australian government
Novak Djokovic loses visa appeal against Australian government

Novak Djokovic visa issue: Novak Djokovic lost his final fight to avoid deportation from Australia on January 16, 2022 after an Australian Federal Court panel dismissed the tennis star's appeal challenging Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa on January 16, 2022. 

The Australian court panel turned down his appeal just one day before the Serbian tennis star was supposed to play his first match of the Australian Open.

Chief Justice James Allsop said that the orders of the court are that the amended application be dismissed with costs. The tennis star will have to pay the costs and may also be subject to a three-year ban on being granted a visa for Australia. There are though exceptions to the ban.

Novak Djokovic has accepted the verdict and will not be appealing against the court's ruling. This brings an end to 11-days of drama over the player's vaccination status, squashing his dream of a record 21st Grand Slam.

What does this mean?

The decision means that Novak Djokovic, reigning world no. 1, will now be deported and will not be able to compete in the Australian Open. 

The Serbian tennis star had been the favourite to win a record 10th Australian Open, and become the first man to win 21 Grand Slams. His absence from the tournament could also put his long-held number one spot under threat.
Italy's Salvatore Caruso, who is ranked 150, will replace Djokovic at the top of the men's singles draw at the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic's statement on losing his appeal

Novak Djokovic issued a brief statement after the court's hearing, which read " I am extremely dissapointed 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."

He continued by saying, "I respect the court's ruling and will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country."

He further stated that he is uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on him and hoped that all can now focus on the game and tournament. He wished all players, tournament officials, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament. He also added that he will now be taking some time to rest and recuperate before making any further comments beyond this. 

Novak Djokovic Australian Open Controversy- Full Timeline of events

4th January- Novak Djokovic says that he heading to the Australian Open to defend his title after being granted a medical exemption to play. (The three-time defending champion of Australian Open, Novak Djokovic was one of "a handful" of players and staff to be granted a medical exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination by Tennis Australia and Health Department of Victoria.) Djokovic did not confirm his vaccination status then. All other participants in the Australian Open were required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a medical exemption, assessed by an independent panel of experts. 

5th January: Australian Open tournament Chief Craig Tiley said that over 26 players and support staff had asked for medical exemption but only a few were allowed. Tiley stated that no special opportunity has been granted to Novak.  Novak Djokovic lands in Melbourne later that day and is detained by the Australian Border Force after they determine that he does not meet the entry requirements for an unvaccinated traveller.

6th January: Novak Djokovic's visa is cancelled and he is held in an immigration detention hotel. Australian immigration authorities said in a statement that the tennis player failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements. The event sparks controversy with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also issuing a statement offering all support to Djokovic. 

7th January: Djokovic thanks his fans for their support on Instagram.

8th January: Djokovic's lawyers state in a 32-page court filing that the player was granted COVID-19 vaccine exemption as he had tested positive for COVID-19 on December 16. This sparks further controversy as Djokovic had attended a young players' event in Belgrade the same day without a mask. He had also attended a photoshoot and given an interview to a journalist the next day.

9th January: Australian government says in its court filings that Djokovic is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and his appeal to stay in the country should be dismissed. 

10th January: Despite several delays in the hearing, Novak Djokovic wins his appeal against the Australian government, as the federal judge ordered his immediate release from the immigration detention. The presiding judge ruled against the government and overturned the cancelation of Djokovic's Australian visa, ending his detention. The government lawyer, however, states that Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke may use his personal power of cancellation to intervene in the case despite Djokovic's victory in the case.

11th January: Novak Djokovic is included in the men's singles draw in the Australian Open. He was scheduled to play against another Serbian player, Miomir Kecmanovic in the opening round. 

12th January: Novak Djokovic issued a statement on January 12, 2022 saying that he wanted to address misinformation about his activities and attendance at events in December in the lead-up to his positive PCR Covid test result.

He said that this is misinformation that needs to be corrected, particularly in the interest of alleviating broader concern in the community about his presence in Australia and to address matters that are very hurtful and concerning his family. He acknowledged a mistake in his travel declaration for Australia, in which he had failed to indicate that he had been in multiple countries over the previous two weeks. He also clarified the timing of his positive test.

14th January: Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he has used his ministerial power under the Migration Act 1958 to revoke Djokovic's visa again on health and good order grounds, in the public interest. 

15th January: Djokovic applied for a review of the decision.

16th January: A three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Australia judges dismissed his appeal against the visa cancellation with costs, preventing his participation in the 2022 Australian Open.


Novak Djokovic's absence is expected to be felt strongly in the Australian Open. Djokovic has won the Australian Open title a total of nine times including in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021. He had won the grand slam back-to-back in the last three years. 

Besides Djokovic, the tournament is also not going to see Roger Federer in action. The 40-year-old had announced earlier that he will not be able to compete in the Australian Open. Federer is still in recovery mode from a knee surgery that took place in August last year. 

The last time both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer had missed the Australian Open was in 1999, a different century.  This would also be the first time ever that Rafael Nadal will be the only Big Three member in a Grand Slam draw.


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