Novak Djokovic is set to be deported from Australia after losing a last-ditch court bid to stay in the country.
Judges rejected his challenge to the government’s decision to cancel the unvaccinated player’s visa on “health and good order” grounds.
The world number one’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title and winning a record 21st Grand Slam in Melbourne are over.
Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” but accepted the ruling.
“I will co-operate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” he said in a statement. It was not immediately clear when he would leave.
His supporters fell silent outside the courtroom as the decision was announced. One fan told the BBC that her summer would be “empty” without the 34-year-old playing at the Open.
“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected,” he said.
Djokovic launched the case after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his ministerial powers to cancel the Serbian player’s visa, arguing that his presence in the country risked fanning anti-vaccine sentiment.
It was the second time his visa had been revoked, after a first cancellation over not following Covid entry rules was overturned by a different judge.
During Sunday’s court hearing before a three-judge panel, Djokovic’s defence unsuccessfully argued that the grounds given by the government were “invalid and illogical”.
Chief Justice James Allsop said the federal court’s ruling was based on the lawfulness and legality of the minister’s decision, not on the “merits or wisdom of that decision”.
Deportation orders usually include a three-year ban on returning to Australia, though this can be waived in certain circumstances.