Novak Djokovic: His Path to the Australian Open and Back Again

Priya Kommu, Editor

Tennis player Novak Djokovic is having a difficult time entering Australia for the Australian Open held at Melbourne Park. Djokovic was deported from the country because of his refusal to get vaccinated. This deportation occurred after the Federal Court upheld Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to cancel his visa. Hawke said that Djokovic risked “inciting anti-vaccination sentiment” if he were to remain and compete in the competition. 

Djokovic originally arrived in Australia with a medical exemption to the vaccination regulations, which state that all visitors must be double vaccinated or quarantine for fourteen days. The exemption was granted by two separate medical panels, and the decision angered many Australian citizens. Australians have been through several rough lockdowns and now over 90% of the population is vaccinated, as per government guidelines. 

When Djokovic arrived in Australia however, the exemption was not recognized by border force officials and later the Immigration Minister. His visa was cancelled and he was taken to a immigration detention hotel. 

Djokovic appealed the Federal Court’s deportation decision, and he won the appeal. However, just two days later, his visa was cancelled again. He left Australia on January 16, 2022.