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Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic said in a statement on Sunday that he was “extremely disappointed” with the decision to cancel his visa to enter Australia, but would cooperate with authorities in relation to his departure from the country.

The Serbian champion said he hoped attention would now turn to tennis and the Australian Open Grand Slam, which starts in Melbourne on Monday.

Djokovic had appealed Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa on the grounds that he was a threat to public order because his presence would stoke anti-vaccination sentiment amid Australia’s worst COVID-19 outbreak.

“I will now take some time to rest and recover, before making any further comments beyond this,” the 34-year-old said in a statement after the court dismissed his case.

“I am extremely disappointed with the Court’s ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means that I am unable to stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.

“I respect the Court’s ruling and will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.”

Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, has been given a medical exemption to compete at the Melbourne Park Major, a tournament he has won nine times, including the last three editions.

His fate was finally decided after a 10-day roller coaster ride in which authorities detained him, released him and then detained him again ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on Monday.

Rafa Nadal, who is tied with Djokovic for 20 major titles, said there were “too many questions” still to be answered about the Serb’s bid to play the tournament, while other leading players lamented how Slam has been overshadowed by the saga.

“It makes me uncomfortable that the focus for the last few weeks has been on me and I hope that now we can all focus on the game and the tournament that I love,” Djokovic said, while thanking those who supported him.

“I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.”

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