World No. 1 Novak Djokovic had one of the most trouble-filled fortnights in Australia that ended with his deportation out of the country as he was denied his visa for entering the country without being vaccinated, a flouting of the direct order of the country to all foreign visitors to be vaccinated while entering the country.
Despite Djokovic winning the first court hearing that saw him stay in the country for another week, it was no surprise when Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his positional power to cancel his visa and subsequently win the court case that resulted in Novak’s expulsion from the country on the eve of Day-1 of the 2022 Australian Open.
While many questioned why there was a change in judgement over the same case in the space of one week, the Federal court of Australia has released statements on why the court ruled against Novak. “It was plainly open to the Minister to infer that Mr Djokovic had chosen not to be vaccinated because he was opposed to vaccination or did not wish to be vaccinated.
“That he had a reason not to have a vaccination at the time of the decision in January 2022, apparently having contracted COVID-19 on or about 16 December 2021, did not say anything as to the position for the many months from the availability of vaccines to December 2021. He did not give evidence of any apparent change of attitude. It was also open to the Minister to infer that the public would view his attitude as the media had portrayed: that he was unwilling to be vaccinated,” says the released statement.
“Novak Djokovic may influence people of all ages”: Federal Court
The judgement also pointed out that given Djokovic’s popularity across age groups, his disregard for getting vaccinated might reflect in his followers as well and given the scientific proof of vaccine helping prevent the catastrophic damage during the initial months of the virus, his presence was not good for Australians.
“An iconic world tennis star may influence people of all ages, young or old, but perhaps especially the young and the impressionable, to emulate him. This is not fanciful; it does not need evidence. It is the recognition of human behaviour from a modest familiarity with human experience.
“Even if Mr Djokovic did not win the Australian Open, the capacity of his presence in Australia playing tennis to encourage those who would emulate or wish to be like him is a rational foundation for the view that he might foster anti-vaccination sentiment,” read the statement further.