Novak Djokovic, the world’s number one tennis player, was ordered deported from Australia on Sunday after the government claimed his presence would “fuel anti-vaccine sentiment.”
Novak Djokovic will be deported from Australia after failing to persuade three senior judges of his right to remain in Melbourne to compete in the Australian Open — despite the government’s attorneys claiming he’d become an ‘icon’ for anti-vaxxers.
The law enforcement team claimed the anti-vaccine climate in the country after the tennis star arrived in Australia was due to the government’s decision to revoke his visa. Tennis star lawyer Nick Wood presented his case in an Australian federal court to a triangle of judges after Minister Hawke revoked Djokovic’s visa on the grounds of “health and good order”.
Despite the fact that the 34-year-old was unvaccinated, Wood claimed he had not taken advantage of the support of vaccine opponents and was not involved in the movement. The Australian government “does not know what Mr Djokovic’s current views are,” Wood claimed.
Government attorney Stephen Lloyd said the fact that Djokovic had not been vaccinated for two years in the pandemic and had repeatedly ignored safety measures – including the failure of isolation as a Covid-19 positive – was sufficient evidence for his views. Lloyd also referred to the protests that had already sparked Djokovic’s arrival in Australia.
Djokovic is now facing an immediate expulsion and a three-year ban from competing in Australia, dramatically reducing his chances of winning a championship he has won nine times before.
Minister Hawke, backed by judges, based his decision to revoke the visa on the view that Djokovic’s vaccination stance could pose a threat to the country’s public health if he stays in Melbourne and plays in the Australian Open. In legal documents filed late Saturday and released on Sunday, the minister shows that his decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa had little to do with him infecting others with Covid. Instead, he argued that Djokovic’s behaviour and “position for vaccinations… may encourage others to imitate him, because of his high profile and position”.
The minister also argued that Djokovic’s presence could lead to demonstrations and riots – whether against the stars or his support – which could become super-pervasive events and lead to significantly higher rates of infection in the community.