The decision definitively buried Novak Djokovic’s hopes of winning a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, which kicks off Monday (January 17th). Australia’s Federal Court on Sunday rejected an appeal against the 34-year-old Serbian tennis player’s expulsion from the country by a government decision, which it considers the world’s number one tennis player, who has not been vaccinated against Covid-19, to represent a danger. “health risk”.
→ CONTEXT. Novak Djokovic detained in Australia
Novak Djokovic left Melbourne for Dubai at noon. “Extremely disappointed” With the Court’s decision on his deportation, he had said in a statement a few hours ago that he respected the decision and was preparing to leave the country.
Novak Djokovic, who was allowed to leave the detention center where he was placed on Saturday, followed the four-hour hearing online from his lawyers’ office in Melbourne.
In their decision, submitted to the Court on Saturday, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said that Novak Djokovic’s presence in the country “likely to represent a health risk”. According to him, he encouraged “anti-vaccine” and as the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly across the country, it could deter Australians from their booster shots. The champion may even have a presence in Australia “leads to an increase in civil unrest”The minister added.
→ READ. Antivax, esotericism and the mysterious pyramid: Novak Djokovic, follower of pseudoscience
Although the player himself described the risk of infecting Australians as follows: “negligible”The minister had predicted “disdain” Passing health rules against Covid was a bad example.
Before the Court on Sunday, the tennis player’s lawyers described their client’s detention and possible deportation as follows:“illogical”, “irrational” and “illogical”.
Government “I don’t know what Novak Djokovic is thinking right now”Attorney Nick Wood pleaded, saying his client had never publicly supported the anti-vaccine movement.
Government attorney Stephen Lloyd said the champ’s failure to be vaccinated for nearly two years in the pandemic and repeatedly ignoring health rules, including not isolating when he knows he’s infected, is proof enough of his position.
This convoluted soap opera takes place in a country where residents have faced some of the world’s toughest anti-Kovid restrictions for nearly two years and elections are scheduled for May. Hence a loaded political context. The pressure around Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has intensified in recent days.“insufficiency” by the workers’ opposition.
“A loss for tennis”
The Australian government thus welcomed Sunday’s legal victory. ‘Australia’s strong border protection policy has kept us safe during the pandemic’Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said in a statement. “Australians have made great sacrifices to get here and the Morrison government is determined to maintain that position.” added.
→ ANALYSIS. Djokovic case raises issue of athletes’ vaccination status
Not surprisingly, Australia’s decision went badly in Serbia, where Novak Djokovic is revered and seen as a national hero. “They have humiliated themselves, Djokovic can return to his country with his head high and look everyone in the eye”President Aleksandar Vucic was ecstatic about Australian leaders.
The ATP, which runs the men’s professional circuit, estimates Australian justice’s decision falls to its fair share. “to put an end to a series of deeply distressing events”. “Judiciary decisions on public health issues should be respected”He added, reminding that “Continues to strongly recommend the vaccine to all players”. Before I remember Djokovic “He is one of the greatest champions in our sport and his absence from the Australian Open is a loss to tennis”.