Supporters of tennis star Novak Djokovic are outraged after he was deported on Sunday upon losing a visa battle to remain in Australia.
Djokovic was expected to participate at this year’s Australian Open after he was exempted from vaccination rules. However, three Federal Court judges unanimously supported the decision made by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to revoke the 34-year-old’s visa.
In a statement, Hawke said: “I exercised my power to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.”
Even though Djokovic cannot be granted another visa for three years under Australia’s immigration laws, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the men’s tennis world number one could be allowed entry into Australia sooner than expected under the “right circumstances,” BBC reports.
However, Djokovic expressed that he was “extremely disappointed” by the decision made.
“I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.
“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” the statement read.
Some Twitter users have been up-in-arms following the news as @CraigKelly said “Dangerous, VERY DANGEROUS to exclude someone from Australia JUST because of their ‘views'”, while @Law_Girl_ said “Djokovic cannot visit Aust for 3 years. We are the only country that thinks it’s ok to lock out the No. 1 tennis player on the brink of being best in world, not because he’s a health risk, but because he “might” make the 90+% of its citizens already vaxxed not get a booster”.
In the same vein, @OzraeliAvi said “Novak Djokovic has more integrity, conviction and courage than every politician in Australia who had to poll their next move. He’s a champion on and off the court” while @PeterSweden7 asked “So essentially the Australian government kicked Djokovic out of the country because they were afraid he would make people disagree with the government. Isn’t this what dictatorships do?”
But some have taken on an opposing approach, as @francismmaxwell said “Let me say this, if Naomi Osaka, or Serena Williams acted in the way Novak Djokovic has acted in the past couple weeks- the tennis association would be sharpening their knives. They hung Osaka out to dry because she missed a couple pressers, meanwhile on Djokovic…(crickets).”
Meanwhile, according to AFP, Djokovic landed in Dubai on Monday after being deported from Australia and stepped off an Emirates plane carrying two bags and wearing a mask.