Djokovic Australian Open 2021

Novak Djokovic deported due to ‘public perception’ of anti-vax stance, judge confirms

Australian Federal judges ruled against Novak Djokovic because there was ‘no reason not to have a vaccination for many months,’ it has been revealed.

Djokovic was deported from Australia last week by Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke despite him receiving a medical exemption from the Covid-19 vaccine requirement.

Hawke asserted Djokovic’s presented a risk to public order in Australia as him being allowed to stay could fuel anti-vaccination sentiment in the country.

Although Djokovic appealed, the panel of three judges upheld Hawke’s decision, and they have now published their reasons.

“That he had a reason not to have a vaccination at the time of the decision in January 2022, apparently having contracted COVID-19 on or about 16 December 2021, did not say anything as to the position for the many months from the availability of vaccines to December 2021,” the ruling states.

“It was plainly open to the Minister to infer that Mr Djokovic had chosen not to be vaccinated because he was opposed to vaccination or did not wish to be vaccinated.

“Whilst the Minister had not asked Mr Djokovic about his present attitude to vaccines, that only meant that there was no express statement to the contrary of what could be inferred to be his attitude up to January 2022.

“Mr Djokovic had not volunteered any information when interviewed at the airport by officers of the Department of Home Affairs. He did not give evidence of any apparent change of attitude.

“It was also open to the Minister to infer that the public would view his attitude as the media had portrayed: that he was unwilling to be vaccinated.

“The central proposition of Mr Djokovic’s argument was that the Minister lacked any evidence and cited none that his presence may “foster anti-vaccination sentiment”.

“There was no evidence, it was submitted, that he had urged people not to be vaccinated. Nor was there any evidence that in the past his circumstances had fostered such a sentiment in other countries.

“However, it was open to infer that it was perceived by the public that Mr Djokovic was not in favour of vaccinations. It was known or at least perceived by the public that he had chosen not to be vaccinated.”

Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday, just hours before he was due to begin his Australian Open defence.

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.