In advance of the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic was deported from the country after his application to have his visa reinstated was denied by the full Federal Court. He was the world number one at the time.
Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic was spotted boarding an Emirates flight from Melbourne to Dubai, just hours after the court dismissed his appeal against the decision of Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke to cancel his visa. The plane took off shortly after 10.30 p.m. local time on Saturday (11.30am GMT).
As a result of Djokovic’s status as a “talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment,” Hawke revoked his visa on Friday, claiming that his presence in Australia would cause “social turmoil” and “civil upheaval.” And on Sunday, Chief Justice James Allsop revealed that the court had unanimously dismissed Djokovic’s application, leaving the tennis star responsible for the court’s fees and costs.
Allsop emphasised that the court’s conclusion was not based on “the merits or wisdom of the choice,” but rather on whether the decision was so irrational as to constitute an unlawful act. The full set of reasons will be released at a later date.
In Djokovic’s pursuit for a tenth Australian Open championship and his record-tying 21st grand slam title, the decision is considered a significant blow.
Afterwards, Djokovic issued a statement in which he expressed his “great disappointment” with the decision, noting that it means he “will not be able to remain in Australia and play in the Australian Open.”
“I accept the court’s decision and will work with the appropriate authorities in order to complete my exit from the country,” he stated. “It makes me uncomfortable that so much attention has been focused on me over the past several weeks, and I hope that we can all now devote our attention to the game and tournament that I like.”
“I would want to wish the best of luck to all of the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers, and fans participating in this competition.”
Djokovic stated that he wished to “relax and rejuvenate” for a period of time before making any further comments on the matter.Serbia’s prime minister called the move to cancel the visa “scandalous” on Sunday, calling it “unacceptable.”
In an interview with reporters in Belgrade, Ana Brnabic said, “I believe the court’s ruling is disgusting…
Within a matter of a few days, we have received two court decisions that are absolutely in conflict with one another.
“I’m a little disappointed…
The way the rule of law is functioning, or more accurately how it is not functioning, in some other nations is illustrated, in my opinion. Anyway, I am beyond excited for Novak Djokovic to visit our home country of Serbia.”
In their submission, Djokovic’s attorneys said that Hawke’s decision was “illogical, irrational, or unreasonable,” and that the minister based his decision on Djokovic’s public opinions about vaccination rather than soliciting his input.
According to the ATP, the saga was “a truly sad set of events.” “At the end of the day, judgments made by legal authorities in matters of public health must be recognised,” the statement continued. It will take more time to assess the issue and draw conclusions from it than is currently available.
“Regardless of how this point was reached, Novak is one of our sport’s most illustrious champions, and his absence from the Australian Open is a blow to the game.” Our readers are well aware of how difficult Novak’s recent days have been, as well as how much he wanted to defend his title in Melbourne. We wish him the best of luck and look forward to seeing him back on the court in the near future. “The ATP continues to highly advises that all players receive vaccination.”
In further comments made overnight, Djokovic’s attorneys argued that Hawke had failed to consider the impact of his visa cancellation would have on anti-vaccination sentiment in the United States.
When Stephen Lloyd, the minister’s attorney, testified in court on Sunday, he claimed that Australia “must not be obligated to tolerate the presence of a foreigner for fear of what could happen if they are removed.”
After exercising the ministerial power to cancel a visa, the individual is barred from returning to Australia for three years, unless there are compelling circumstances, such as humanitarian or Australian national interest considerations.
Djokovic landed in Australia on the evening of January 5th, according to his schedule. He believed that a visa granted on November 18 and a medical exemption approved by Tennis Australia and an independent expert panel appointed by the Victorian government would be sufficient to allow him to enter Australia.
Djokovic’s visa was initially revoked by the Australian Border Force just hours after he landed at Melbourne International Airport, and he was transferred to a detention facility for the duration of his stay.
In a decision issued Monday, a federal circuit court judge ruled that the ABF’s refusal to honour an agreement to give him more time at the airport to address the exemption issue was unconscionable and that Djokovic’s visa should be reinstated.
After deliberating for a week, Hawke decided to refuse Djokovic’s visa once more on Friday, this time on the grounds that his presence may pose a threat to “health and public order.”
Australia’s “strong border protection regulations,” Hawke asserted in a statement, had both “kept us safe during the pandemic” and “are important to maintaining Australia’s social cohesiveness.”
Australians have made tremendous sacrifices to get to this point [in the pandemic], and the Morrison government is steadfastly committed to maintaining that posture, as the Australian people have come to anticipate.”
The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, expressed his appreciation for “the decision to maintain our borders strong and Australians secure.” “It’s now time to get down to business with the Australian Open and get back to enjoying tennis over the summer,” said the champion.
The outcome of the court case elicited a mixed response in Australia. Kirstina Keneally, the home affairs spokesperson for the Australian Labor Party’s opposition, claimed the Morrison government had made itself “a laughing joke on the international stage.”
As Keneally pointed out, “the Morrison government’s own contention before the court was that Mr Djokovic’s visa should be denied because his presence here may foment anti-vaccination attitude as a result of his actions and statements prior to being granted a visa.”
“This begs the question: why did Mr Morrison’s administration issue him a visa to enter Australia in the first place?” says the journalist.
Nick Kyrgios, the Australian tennis star, conveyed his dismay by using the face-palm emoji. He was one of the few players who advocated for Djokovic’s right to remain in the tournament and compete.