The top-ranked tennis player was officially deported from Australia right before the beginning of the tournament after three Federal Court judges sided with the immigration minister's right to cancel his visa. The Australian Open is set to begin on Monday.
Djokovic said he's “extremely disappointed” by the ruling, but he also said he respects the decision and would leave the country without a fuss, per John Pye of The Associated Press. The tennis star plans “to rest and recuperate” now that he will not be participating in the Australian Open.
This whole Australian Open drama happened because Djokovic is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and tried to use a medical exemption to play in the event. The 34-year-old said the exemption was approved, but he was stopped at the border and had his visa canceled earlier this month. He stayed in an immigration detention hotel for several days before that initial cancellation was overturned, but he wouldn't be so lucky this time around.
With Djokovic now out of the Australian Open, he won't have the chance to make it four wins in a row at the event. Out of his 20 Grand Slam titles, nine of them are Australian Open wins.
Djokovic's absence means there's now only one past men's champion of this event playing in the tournament: Rafael Nadal. Djokovic and Nadal are both tied with Roger Federer for most Grand Slam wins of all time with 20. Federer isn't playing in the Australian Open because of knee issues, so Nadal will go for No. 21 alone.
Nadal had previously commented on Djokovic's situation, noting that while he felt bad for his rival, everybody knew the rules coming in. Almost all of the top tennis players are vaccinated, and Australia has strict rules regarding COVID-19 and vaccinations.
While it's a bummer that Djokovic won't be playing, actions have consequences, and now he's feeling them by getting deported.