Australian judges explain decision to deport Novak Djokovic

Associated Press

A three-judge panel in Australia said it was not unreasonable for immigration officials to deport unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic in a ruling explaining their decision to reject the Serbian player’s appeal to stay in the country.

Djokovic left Australia last week after losing his last appeal, just one day before the Australian Open began.

The tennis player had initially been permitted to stay despite issues surrounding his visa and vaccination status, but Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke canceled his visa for a second time for the sake of “health and good order.”

In their ruling, the judges who heard Djokovic’s case said Hawke’s concerns were not irrational, noting the potential for Djokovic’s stance to influence public opinion on getting vaccinated.

“The possible influence on the second group comes from common sense and human experience: 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,” the ruling read, according to CNN.

Djokovic said he was “disappointed” by the ruling and “uncomfortable” with being the center of so much attention due to visa issues.

“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” he said.

Djokovic’s deportation sparked outcry in his home country of Serbia, with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić calling the court’s decision “scandalous.”

Tags Ana Brnabić Australia Novak Djokovic Serbia Tennis players Travel visa

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