The three referees who unanimously rejected Novak Djokovic’s offer to stay in Australia for the Australian Open have revealed their reasons for the ruling.
In a written statement, the judges held that Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s removal of Djokovic was unwarranted for concern that the unvaccinated Serbian star could jeopardize public health and order. .
The ruling said the minister could infer that Djokovic’s presence could encourage anti-vax protests, which could aid the spread of COVID-19.
And they note that the minister’s decision also includes the possible influence of the star on those uncertain about whether a vaccine should be given.
“The possible influence on the second group comes from common sense and human experience: An iconic world tennis star can affect people of any age, young or old. , but perhaps especially the young and the impressionists, to imitate him. This is not wishful thinking; it does not need proof,” the ruling said.
The explanation ends one of the most controversial periods in the history of the Australian Open.
The world No. 1 male tennis player was forced to leave the country shortly before the competition after the court found no fault with the decision to cancel the visa of the Minister of Immigration.
This is the second time Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled – the first came within hours of his arrival in Australia on January 5, when Australian Border Force (ABF) officers denied a voluntary waiver His aim from the rule stated that all newcomers must be fully vaccinated.
Djokovic said a previous COVID-19 infection meant he had been granted an exemption, but federal regulations weren’t enough and he was being held in an immigration facility.
The matter went to court and a sole judge ruled the decision “absurd” because he did not have enough time to consult his lawyers. Djokovic was released from custody and continued to train at Melbourne Park in hopes of winning his 21st Grand slam title.
However, a few days later, the government intervened again to cancel his visa, saying the unvaccinated player was a threat to public health and order. The matter has been moved to a higher court and three judges were summoned last Sunday.
Djokovic’s legal team does not dispute the merits of the Minister’s decision, only arguing that he made a mistake of authority under the country’s immigration laws.
On Sunday, the referees ruled there was no fault and Djokovic agreed to leave.
In a statement, the player said he was “disappointed” with the decision but respected the court’s decision. That night, he left Melbourne on his way to Serbia, where he received a hero’s welcome.
Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said Australia’s treatment of this star was “notorious”. Brnabic told CNN on Wednesday that she doesn’t know why Djokovic isn’t vaccinated, but added that she doesn’t believe he is an anti-vaxxer.
“He’s in favor of vaccinating people who want to be vaccinated. So I don’t consider him anti-vaxxer,” she said.
In a statement shortly after Sunday’s ruling, Djokovic’s family blamed the decision on politics.
“It’s not just a matter of sport and playing at the first Grand Slam of the season, dominated by Novak for a decade now, but politics and all interests take precedence over sport.” the statement said.
Under Australian law, Djokovic could be banned from entering the country for up to three years, although Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has not ruled out an exemption. “Any application will be considered for what it’s worth,” she said earlier this week.
On Tuesday, Tennis Australia expressed regret that the visa dispute had distracted players from the tournament.
“We deeply regret the impact this has had on all the players,” the statement said. “There are always lessons to be learned, and we’ll be looking at all aspects of the preparation and implementation process to inform our plans – as we do every year. That process is always there. begins after the Australian Open champions have lifted their titles.”
The Great Battle ended on January 31.