Sports

Djokovic Lands In Dubai After Australia Deportation

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Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic landed in Dubai on Monday after his sensational deportation from Australia over his coronavirus vaccination status shattered his dream of scoring a record 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne.

As the Australian Open got under way, the men’s defending champion stepped off an Emirates plane carrying two bags and wearing a mask — his final destination unknown.

The dramatic deportation followed a protracted and high-stakes legal battle between the unvaccinated Djokovic and the Australian authorities that polarised opinion and tarnished reputations on both sides.

Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” after a Federal Court unanimously upheld the cancellation of his visa on public order grounds.

He now faces a possible three-year ban from Australia, where he was won nine of his 20 Grand Slam titles — a tally that equals the all-time record alongside Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is wrestling with record coronavirus numbers, said “there was a very clear message sent”.

But he hinted that Djokovic could be allowed to return within three years “in the right circumstances”.

“It (the ban) does go over a three-year period, but there is the opportunity for them to return in the right circumstances and that would be considered at the time,” he said in a radio interview.

Written by: Ayomide Ayodele

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