Australia’s federal court on Sunday ordered to Novak Djokovic deported for failing to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine despite having natural immunity, a decision that deprives the world’s No. 1 tennis star of the chance to defend his Australian Open title.
After eight hours of deliberations, Chief Justice James Allsop said the decision came down to whether Immigration Minister Ethan Hawke’s decision was “irrational or legally unreasonable.”
“It is no part of the function of the court to decide upon the merits or wisdom of the [government’s] decision,” Allsop explained.
Djokovic, a 34-year-old Serb, said he respected the court’s authority but was “extremely disappointed with the court ruling … which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.”
“I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this,” he said
Hawke welcomed the decision without saying when the tennis star would be deported.
“Australia’s strong border protection policies have kept us safe during the pandemic, resulting in one of the lowest death rates, strongest economic recoveries, and highest vaccination rates in the world,” Hawke said.