Novak Djokovic has arrived in Dubai after his deportation ended the world No.1's hopes of defending his Australian Open title.
The Emirates plane carrying Djokovic touched down after a 13 and a half hour flight from Melbourne, where he had argued in court he should be allowed to stay in the country and compete in the tournament under a medical exemption due to a COVID-19 infection last month.
It wasn't immediately clear where he planned to travel next.
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The Dubai Duty Free tennis tournament, which Djokovic won in 2020, doesn't start until February 14.
In addition to his native Serbia, where he has an almost iconic status and overwhelming support, Djokovic could go to Marbella or Monaco where he has residences and where he has spent most of his time away from tennis.
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Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic called on Djokovic to return home.
"We can't wait to see him in Serbia, to return to his country, to come where he is always welcome," Vucic said.
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"They think they humiliated Djokovic with this, the best player in the world, by the 10-day harassment, they humiliated themselves and Djokovic can return to his country with his head high up and look everyone in the eye."
Dubai doesn't require travellers to be vaccinated, though they must show a negative PCR test to board a flight.
Djokovic initially won an appeal to stay for the tournament, but Australia's immigration minister later revoked his visa.
Three Federal Court judges decided unanimously yesterday to affirm the immigration minister's right to cancel Djokovic's visa.
Despite now being in Dubai, his presence is still being felt at Melbourne Park.One group of fans gave Novak the thumbs down while walking past the mural of last year's champion. (Getty)
Vaccination amid the pandemic was a requirement for anyone at the Australian Open, whether players, their coaches or anyone at the tournament site.
More than 95 per cent of all top 100 men and women in their tours' respective rankings are vaccinated.
At least two men — American Tennys Sandgren and Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert — skipped the first major tournament of the year due to the vaccine requirement.
Djokovic's attempt to get the medical exemption for not being vaccinated sparked anger in Australia, where strict lockdowns in cities and curbs on international travel have been employed to try to control the spread of the coronavirus since the pandemic began.
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