/ 17 January 2022

Djokovic deported after losing court challenge

Image source: AAP
Image source: AAP

Three Federal Court judges spent their Sunday at work considering Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel world men’s #1 tennis champ Novak Djokovic’s visa. The result: they found Hawke acted lawfully when he ordered Djokovic’s deportation late on Friday citing “health and good order grounds”. Yesterday’s decision was unanimous, and Djokovic was ordered to pay the government’s legal costs. Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” but “I respect the Court’s ruling, and I’ll co-operate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.” And last night, he flew out of Melbourne, ending 11 drama-filled days.

Team Djokovic – That Hawke produced no evidence to back his claim that “good order” is under threat due to Djokovic’s presence in Oz and that it could stir up anti-vaccination sentiment. They argued that deporting Djokovic could whip up the same feeling. They were also critical of Hawke’s reliance on a BBC article on what Djokovic had said about vaccines, given the quotes come from before the COVID jabs were available.

Team Aussie Government – There’s ample evidence of Djokovic’s “well-known stance” on vaccination, they said. Exhibit 1: the fact he is unvaccinated against COVID… They also said Djokovic’s lawyers could not prove Hawke had not considered the possibility that deporting him could stir up anti-vaccination sentiment – and even if he didn’t, so what.

Djokovic is now en route to Dubai and says he will “now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.” He wished “the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best” for the Aussie Open, which starts today. Someone who will need luck is 150th ranked Salvatore Caruso – he will replace Djokovic in the men’s draw after winning 2 of his 3 qualifying matches last week. That didn’t stop a hometown hero and someone who looks very familiar from putting up their hands for the spot in the draw. Now on to the main business of the Aussie Open – c’mon Ash Barty

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