Novak Djokovic heads to Belgrade after transiting through Dubai

World No 1 was deported from Australia on Sunday after losing a bid to stay in the country

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Serbia's Novak Djokovic is on his way home to Belgrade after a brief transit in Dubai following his deportation from Australia.

The Associated Press posted a picture of the 34-year-old Djokovic preparing to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade Monday morning following a brief stay in the UAE.

Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday after losing a bid to stay in the country to defend his Australian Open title despite not being vaccinated against Covid-19.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is assured of a hero's welcome on his return to his homeland, with many supporters outraged by his treatment by the Australian authorities in Melbourne.

Earlier Monday, Djokovic, 34, stepped off an Emirates plane carrying two bags and wearing a mask while posing for selfies with fellow passengers who disembarked Emirates flight EK409.

The world No 1 flew out of Melbourne late on Sunday after the Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa, capping days of drama over the country's Covid-19 entry rules and his unvaccinated status.

The ruling dealt a final blow to Djokovic's hopes of chasing a record 21st Grand Slam win at the Australian Open, which started on Monday.

Djokovic, a nine-time winner at Melbourne Park, is tied on 20 majors alongside great rivals Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.

He will now have to wait until the French Open in May for another attempt at becoming the most successful men's player at Grand Slams outright.

Djokovic was escorted to Melbourne Airport by Australian Border Force officials, who formed a guard around the player in an airport lounge before taking him to the door of the plane.

While his coach Goran Ivanisevic and two others in his entourage were seated in business class, Djokovic was afforded the privacy of first class for the overnight 14-hour Emirates flight.

While he was in the air from Melbourne to Dubai, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison left the door open for him to compete at next year's Australian Open despite an automatic three-year ban from entering the country.

Morrison noted there was scope for that three-year ban to be waived "in the right circumstances".

Djokovic, however, did not appear to be in the mood to contemplate a return to Australia, ignoring a shouted question in Dubai about whether he planned to attempt a return Down Under, according to Reuters.

Updated: January 18, 2022, 4:24 AM