Australia’s Polarizing Yet Confusing Stance on Vaccination
Serbian tennis professional Novak Djokovic was recently deported from Australia for being unvaccinated; originally being there because of the Australian Open. Djokovic was the defending champion of the Open and the third most decorated men’s singles tennis player, placing behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Djokovic has been fighting an ongoing court battle that came to an end on January 16th. The Australian courts ruled in favor of deportation for the tennis legend.
34-year-old Djokovic is at the top of the men's tennis game. Djokovic is the number one ranked men’s tennis player and says he is “extremely disappointed” with the Australian government and the situation in general. While Djokovic doesn’t need any more titles to show he is the best in the business, he has every right to be frustrated.
This situation looks very bad on the Australian government because of their flip-flopping stance on Djokovic’s immigration status. Djokovic was granted entry to the country unvaccinated by going through the proper channels of authority in order to get an exemption. Djokovic was granted an exemption from two separate medical boards as well as Tennis Australia.
When Djokovic entered the country, Australian border officials filed the motion for deportation despite Djokovic’s documented exemption from vaccination. This becomes even more muddled when one weighs Australian political motives to punish the unvaccinated. Australia, as well as many other countries, is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases. Djokovic is not only an unvaccinated foreigner, but he is openly anti-vaccine.
The decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa was made by the Australian Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke. The Serb will not travel to Dubai, and it is unclear where he will go on from there. Amid this pandemic, the Australian government has made a clear political move in deporting Djokovic. For many tennis spectators and certainly Serbians, the winner of this upcoming Open will have an asterisk on it without the number one ranked tennis player in the world competing. Novak Djokovic will be replaced by “Italian Salvatore Caruso, who is ranked 150th in the world.” (McGuirk)
McGuirk, R. (2022, January 16). Ruled out: Australia deports Djokovic for being unvaccinated. AP NEWS. Retrieved January 16, 2022, from https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-novak-djokovic-sports-health-australia-2ca1c31f867c05a49e66a8b8f8849477