Djokovic leaves Australia after court ruling to deport him

The world’s top-ranked male tennis player left on the eve of the Australian Open, which starts Monday. As a result he will be unable to defend his title and win a record 21st singles major title.

Djokovic, 34, had no choice but to leave the country, after three Australian federal judges dismissed his challenge to a deportation order on Sunday and upheld a decision made Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel the Serb’s visa on public interest grounds.

Hawke later confirmed on social media that Djokovich had “departed Australia.”

A deportation order usually includes a three-year ban on returning to the country, except in certain circumstances. If this were the case for Djokovic, he would be 37, when he was next allowed to compete in the Australian Open.

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