Early reports said No. 1 tennis player in the world Novak Djokovic had his visa canceled by Australian authorities after receiving a medical exemption because he “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia.”
A new report from The Daily Mail, however, shows that authorities canceled the unvaccinated athlete’s visa “on grounds he could ‘excite anti-vax sentiment’ at the Australian Open on Monday.”
Legal representation for Djokovic argued before court that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s reasoning was “patently irrational.” Judge Anthony Kelly claimed the concern over Djokovic allegedly whipping up anti-vaccine sentiment “would be ‘an important foundational aspect of this case.'”
“Novak Djokovic’s lawyers have told a late night court hearing his visa is being cancelled on grounds he could ‘excite anti-vax sentiment’ at the Australian Open on Monday,” The Daily Mail report said. “The tennis star’s legal team argued that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s reasoning was ‘patently irrational’ and failed to consider how deporting the World No.1 could have the opposite effect by whipping up more support for the anti-vaccination movement.”
Attorney Nick Wood told the Federal Circuit and Family Court “that government officials’ fears were unfounded, and that it would be wrong to ‘remove a man of good standing’ from Australia and ‘impair’ his career,” the report added.
Judge Kelly pushed back, asserting that “the issue of anti-vax sentiment would be ‘an important foundational aspect of this case’ given the wave of deaths and economic impact the Covid pandemic has had on Australia,” according to The Daily Mail.
As highlighted by The Daily Wire’s Joe Morgan, Djokovic, who has nine Australian Open wins under his belt, was granted a medical exemption to play in the Open without receiving the COVID-19 vaccination by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government, a state-level authority.
Djokovic in December already had the virus, and the exemption was granted on the grounds that he had natural immunity.
Australian authorities, though, canceled Djokovic’s visa one day after the athlete arrived in Australia, ostensibly because he “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia.”
There has been much back-and-forth about Djokovic allegedly providing “false” information on his forms. Essentially, Djokovic traveled while he was positive for COVID-19 but asymptomatic.
Djokovic has pushed back against the “misinformation,” saying that his agent had accidentally checked an incorrect box, which was merely “human error” and not deception.
Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, has since spoken out about his son’s detainment and treatment and called on Queen Elizabeth to “protect the human rights” of his son.
“I call on Queen Elizabeth, the leader of the Commonwealth, to intervene and protect the human rights of my son and to stop the political prosecution carried out against him since he came to Australia,” Srdjan said.
The prospects of Djokovic playing the Australian Open look more and more grim, though the tennis player has signaled he won’t stop fighting, likely landing him in another detention center as he fights off the visa cancelation.
But time is running out; the Open begins on Monday.
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