No. 1 Tennis Player Novak Djokovic deported from Australia ahead of Australian Open

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Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Yann_Caradec

Novak Djokovic celebrates at a tennis tournament.

Jada Mirabelle, Contributing Writer

Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open due to his vaccination status. The 2022 Australian Open could have been record breaking for Djokovic. The No. 1 ranked tennis star would have had the chance to break the record for the most grand slam wins of all time. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic, known as the Big Three, were all tied for the most grand slams with a whopping 20 titles each. The tennis world was anticipating Djokovic to edge past Nadal and Federer to break the record with his 21st grand slam title at the Australian Open.

Sadly, this highly anticipated event never happened for Djokovic and his fans because of his personal medical decision. Instead, Rafael Nadal with his usual grit and determination clinched the Australian Open title, and now holds the record for the most grand slam wins.

The Australian Open required all fans, players, and staff to be fully vaccinated. Since Djokovic is unvaccinated, he had to enter Australia with a medical exemption. Days later his medical exemption was revoked after it was deemed “not valid,” according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Djokovic was then held and detained by Australian immigration officials for four days. While Novak was being held by officials, his team and his lawyers were challenging Djokovic’s revoked medical exemption.

An Australian judge heard Djokovic’s case and granted him a medical exemption once again. This gave Djokovic and his fans hope that he would be allowed to play in the tournament despite his choice to be unvaccinated. However, this hope was very short-lived. The Australian government revoked his medical exemption for a second time. Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke stated “I consider that Mr Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission.”

Hawke used his authority to reject Djokovic’s medical exemption, revoke his visa and deport him from Australia. Due to Djokobic’s deportation, Australian officials now have the power to deny a new visa for the next 3 years.

Djokovic has dedicated his entire life to tennis. He began playing at the young age of four years old and has played ever since. He has worked his entire life to become one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Now the possibility of future wins, achievements and titles remains uncertain because he chose to not get the COVID-19 vaccine. The next challenge that Djokovic and his team face is the French Open in May. The French Open will begin on May 22 and conclude on June 5. However, France’s new COVID-19 restrictions may bar him from competing once again. Will tennis star Novak Djokovic’s career be altered forever?