Tennis champion Novak Djokovic leaves Australia without a vaccine and without a trophy

He really caused a racket.

Novak Djokovic, the 34-year-old Serbian tennis champion, who is currently number one by the Association of Tennis Professionals by a significant margin, has been called out by another kind of judge: the Australian Federal Court. The star athlete, unvaccinated for COVID-19, was deported from the country on Sunday after a very visible appeal. The Associated Press noted that an expulsion order “usually includes a three-year ban on returning to Australia.”

Djokovic, who binds Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with the highest number of Grand Slam victories at 20, has won at the Australian Open nine times, including the last three years in a row. He was the top seed for this year’s tournament before his lack of vaccination disrupted.

His plan to return to Melbourne Park’s famous blue courts quickly became an international story when the superstar was denied entry to the country by border police in early January due to Australia’s public health protocols.

In a statement Sunday, Djokovic said: “I respect the court’s decision and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in connection with my departure from the country.” He was photographed at Melbourne Airport wearing a 3M-made mask in the airport lounge before flying to Dubai.

President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, called Djokovic’s hearing to keep his visa “a farce with a lot of lies,” according to the AP report.

“They think they humiliated Djokovic with this 10-day harassment, and they were actually humiliating themselves. If you said the person who was not vaccinated has no right to come in, Novak would not come or stay. vaccinated, “said the 51-year-old politician, who also called the incident” Orwellian “.

Vucic’s comment reflects allegations made by Djokovic’s lawyers regarding a special exception granted to the athlete. It was thought he would be allowed to enter Australia, despite being unvaccinated because he had recently been infected with COVID-19. Nevertheless, Djokovic’s entry caused a great deal of consternation among Australian citizens, who have endured some of the globe’s more intense social restrictions during the pandemic. (In the US, Australia’s moves were previously ridiculed by such remarkably balanced thinkers as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and senator Ted Cruz. Senator Edge Paul referred to “barbed wire camps for the unvaccinated” in an Instagram comment.)

Djokovic stated “as opposed to vaccination” in April 2020, although he later softened his stance, saying he was “no expert” and wanted to keep “an open mind.” In June 2020, Djokovic issued a public apology for holding a tennis tournament in Serbia and Croatia despite criticism that it flew in the face of restrictions on social distance. He, his wife Jelena, and three other players later tested positive for COVID-19.

In September 2020, Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open after hitting a ball away and it threw a line woman in the throat.

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