Copy of 2022-01-16T105205Z_145246880_RC2A0S95ZAEF_RTRMADP_3_TENNIS-AUSTRALIA-DJOKOVIC-1642331205481
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic walks in Melbourne Airport before boarding a flight, after the Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa to play in the Australian Open, in Melbourne, Australia. Image Credit: REUTERS

Melbourne: Tennis star Novak Djokovic boarded an outbound plane today after the Australian Federal Court upheld the government’s cancellation of his visa in a drama over his decision not to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

The player was seen boarding an flight from Melbourne just hours after the court ruling.

Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke confirmed that Djokovic left the country. In a statement he "welcomed today's unanimous decision by the Federal Court of Australia".

Hawke used his ministerial powers to cancel the tennis star's visa, saying that Djokovic’s presence posed a risk to the "health and good order" of the Australian community.

Daily infections

"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 visa in the public interest. I can confirm that Mr Djokovic has now departed Australia," Hawke tweeted.

Australia has been experiencing its highest Covid-19 figures on record and for the past five days, it has recorded daily infections of more than 100,000. Thursday saw a pandemic high of 150,000 cases but today, the country saw a drop in cases with 85,824 reported.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) says Djokovic's absence from the Australian Open is a "loss for the game" but it continues to "strongly recommend vaccination to all players".