It’s over! Djokovic deported; will not play the Australian Open – El Financiero

Less than 18 hours before the start of the first Slam of the season, the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia, after three court judges upheld the immigration minister’s right to cancel his visa.

The 34-year-old tennis player tried to use a medical dispensation to avoid requirements that all participants in the Australian Open they had to be vaccinated against COVID, because Djokovic is not vaccinated, the government considered that his presence could fuel the anti-vaccine current.

Thus, he was seen wearing a mask at the Melbourne airport, in the company of two government officials and left on an Emirates flight to Dubai.

Djokovic was disappointed with the decision, but stated that he would respect it and take time to rest and recover:

“I am extremely disappointed with the court decision to dismiss my application for judicial review to the minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which implies that i cant stay in australia and participate in the Australian Open”, he stated in a statement.

The audience

During the audience, scheduled for this January 15 at 5:00 p.m. Mexico time, first place was given to the defense of the athlete, who took a little over an hour to present arguments with which the suspension of his visa would be avoided (a again) and deportation.

Nick Wood, lawyer of Djokovic, stated during the trial: “the minister did not consider the obvious alternative scenario… the possibility that the visa could be cancelled, he would be expelled from the country and his career would be harmed in general. It’s pretty obvious that itself can generate anti-vaccine sentiment”.

The tennis player’s defense argued that his client has never really taken an anti-vaccine stance, since he even defended the “freedom of choice” of each person to receive the immune.

However, during the hearing Djokovic was asked to take the stand to state his position on vaccination, but this he refused, which would make his defense more difficult.

On the other hand, the defense of the minister Alex Hawke, who cancels Djokovic’s visa, refuted what was said by the athlete’s lawyers: “No material was ever presented or any claim that the applicant had any other medical reason not to be vaccinated.”

“He left open the possibility that he might change his mind, but his publicly stated position (by Djokovic) was that he was not in favor of being vaccinated. He did not back down or offer a different view. He is not, after all this time, vaccinated”, they sentenced.

“Djokovic has a recent history of ignoring COVID safety measures,” said Stephen Lloyd, a lawyer for the Minister for Immigration. “Even when he knew he was infected and had received a positive test, he conducted an interview and photo shoot that included removing his mask”, he added.

As the hearing took place, around 20 Djokovic supporters were outside the court with loudspeakers. Federal Court of Australia where the trial was taking place, according to information from The Age.

Djokovic case

At approximately 10:00 local time in Australia, the Serbian tennis player was detained by the country’s border authorities. Just a day earlier, Minister Alex Hawke revoked Novak’s visa for the second time, which would prevent him from playing at the Australian Open.

After the second cancellation of the visa to the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, Australian authorities issued an arrest warrant that was carried out in the early hours of this Saturday in the oceanic country.

According to the Australian government, the presence of the tennis player can represent a danger to “life and civil order due to anti-vaccine sentiment and disregard for COVID-19 regulations.”

What will happen now at the Australian Open?

In a statement, the Australian Tennis Federation, organizer of the tournament, stated that it would respect the decision of the Federal Court: “We want to have a competitive and exciting Australian Open 2022 and we wish all the players the best of luck.”

Djokovic was scheduled in a match with his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic. After the deportation of his opponent, Kecmanovic would face a “lucky loser”, a player who loses in qualifying matches but enters the main draw due to the departure of another tennis player.

Salvatore Caruso is the “lucky loser” on this occasion, shortly after the resolution of the Djokovic case was known, it was announced that the Italian had replaced the number one in the draw and the match would take place on a smaller court.

Now the tournament will only feature the participation of a former men’s champion, Rafael Nadal.

With information from AP.