Novak Djokovic at Melbourne Airport.
Novak Djokovic will not defend his title at the Australian Open grand slam. A Serbian tennis player has failed at a federal court in Melbourne to appeal against the revocation of his visa, which was ordered on Friday by Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke. Deportation from the country awaited the world ranking leader.
In the first reaction, Djokovic expressed “extraordinary disappointment” at the court’s decision, but accepted it and decided to leave Australia. “I respect the court’s decision and will work with the relevant authorities on my departure from the country,” the AFP quoted a Serbian tennis player.
According to the Australian media, he was at Melbourne Airport late Sunday night and left Australia on the flight to Dubai at 22.51 local time. His departure from the country was then confirmed by Minister Hawke.
After Sunday’s hearing, the three-member senate confirmed the ministerial decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa on grounds of public interest. The deportation order usually includes a three-year ban on entering Australia. “Now I will take some time to rest and gather new strength until I take a closer look at these events,” Djokovic said.
“It’s not pleasant that the focus in recent weeks has been on me alone and I hope we can all focus on the tournament I love now. I would like to wish the players, officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best during the tournament. I would like to thank my family, friends, team, fans and compatriots from Serbia for your constant support. You have all been a great source of strength for me. “
The nine-time Australian Open champion lost his visa for the first time on January 6, shortly after arriving in Melbourne, when border authorities found that he did not meet the conditions for entry.
As unvaccinated, he wanted to take advantage of the health exemption after overcoming Covid-19 in December. Djokovic then spent several days in an immigrant facility, but last Monday he succeeded in appealing to the first instance court and began training. However, Minister Hawke used his special powers on Friday to revoke the tennis player’s visa.
The judges decided unanimously
The federal court’s verdict was unanimous on Sunday, with all three judges agreeing – James Allsop, Anthony Besanko and David O’Callaghan. In addition, Djokovic was ordered to pay the government court costs. The jury did not justify its decision in writing on Sunday, it will do so in the coming days.
According to Judge Allsop, the hearing concerned in particular the question of the legality of the decision of the Minister for Immigration. He welcomed the court’s confirmation of his position. “Australia’s border protection policy has kept us safe during the pandemic, giving us one of the lowest mortality rates, the strongest economic recovery and the highest vaccination rates in the world. Strict border protection policy is also fundamental to protecting Australia’s social cohesion, which continues to strengthen despite the pandemic.” Hawke said in a statement.
Djokovic was detained on Saturday after the minister’s decision to withdraw his visa on Saturday and spent the night before the hearing in a detention facility. However, he could already watch Sunday’s hearing from his lawyers’ office, where he was accompanied by immigration officials. Serbian tennis lawyer Nick Wood portrayed the court’s attempt to deport him as “irrational” and “unjustified.”
He sought to disprove the government’s main argument that Djokovic’s anti-vaccination views were a public threat and could cause “civil unrest.” Wood said that even though his client was not vaccinated, he was not trying to gain the favor of anti-vaxers, nor was he connected to the movement. “The Australian government does not know what Djokovic’s current views are,” Wood said, adding that the government did not have sufficient evidence for its claims.
Government lawyer Stephen Lloyd, on the other hand, argued that Djokovic had not been vaccinated after two years of coronavirus pandemics and repeatedly ignored anti-pandemic measures – including not isolating when he was positive for covid – and that is ample evidence of his view of the pandemic. According to him, the Serb poses a risk to the whole society, in which he incites anti-vaccination moods.
The organizers of the Australian Open before the verdict included Djokovic in the program of the first day of the grand slam tournament, on Monday he had to start the second duel “night session” in Rod Laver’s arena (after 9.00 CET) against compatriot Miomir Kecmanovič. He will now be replaced in the spider by a “lucky loser”, an originally unsuccessful player from qualifying. He will be the 150th player in the world, Italian Salvatore Caruso. Djokovic, 34, wanted to attack a record 21st grand slam title at the Australian Open.
Djokovic reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus on December 16. Subsequently, however, it became clear that a day later he attended a ceremony at Novak’s Tennis Center in Belgrade, where he posed with about twenty children without spacing or covering the upper airways.
He justified this by saying that he did not receive the test result until after he left for the event. Later, however – already aware of the quarantine – he gave an interview to a reporter for the French daily L’Équipe, for which he later apologized. The commotion was also caused by a trip from Belgrade to Spain, which took place 14 days before arrival in Australia. At the same time, he claimed in a travel statement that he was not going anywhere at that time. He blamed the misinformation on the agent who allegedly filled in his travel documents.
The “Nole” case also had a political background in Australia
One of the toughest pandemic restrictions in the world has been in place for almost two years in a country awaiting elections this year. The exception for a tennis player who has questioned vaccinations in the past has been widely criticized by locals.
“This pandemic has been very challenging for every Australian, but we have kept together and saved lives. We have had one of the lowest deaths and the best economic and vaccination outcomes in the world,” Prime Minister Morrison said in an official statement. “The Australians have sacrificed a lot and rightly expect that we will protect the result of their sacrifice.”
Responses to the decision to deport the world unit
They responded to Sunday’s verdict with the reluctance in Serbia. “They think they humiliated Djokovic with this ill-treatment for ten days, but they humiliated themselves. Djokovic can return to his homeland with his head held high,” Aleksandar Vučič, the country’s president, told the local media.
The Belgrade daily Kurir wrote: “Melbourne has become the biggest disgrace in the history of sports. The disgrace to Australia! Justice has lost, politics has won.” The periodical Informer stated on the website: “Crushed like never before. Disappointed, Nole did not hide his grief after the defeat in court.”
Serbian officials have expressed support for tennis player Novak Djokovic, who has been deported from Australia. The leader of the world rankings wanted to start at the Australian Open and fight for the record 21st grand slam title in his career, but on Sunday he failed to appeal against the visa waiver and had to leave the country.
“I think this decision is scandalous,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told the AP in response to events in the host country: “I am disappointed and I think it has turned out how the laws work in other countries. that two completely opposite court decisions were reached within a few days. “
Behind “Nolem” is the Serbian Tennis Association (TSS), which called the court’s decision political: “This decision deprived everyone of the opportunity to watch Novakov’s fight for the tenth title at the Australian Open and the 21st Grand Slam title,” the union said in an official statement.
The Serbian Olympic Committee also called the deportation scandalous. “Despite this scandalous decision, we believe that Novak has again emerged victorious,” the statement said.
His family also expressed support for the world unit. “We are very disappointed with the decision of the federal court and the fact that Novak has to leave Australia,” the family said in a statement, “These are difficult times, especially for Novak. We believe that this situation will turn out stronger and that time will show how great a champion and man he is. “
The Djokovic case has been described as a regrettable by the ATP men’s tennis circuit. “Today’s decision marks the end of a very unfortunate series of events. Regardless of how it came about, Novak is one of the biggest champions of our sport and his absence from the Australian Open is a loss for the game,” the ATP said in a statement.