Victory for Djokovic in court: tennis star now allowed to parti­ci­pate in the Austra­lian Open

Foto: flickr

Victory for Djokovic in court: The world’s best tennis player may not be prevented from ente­ring Australia simply because he has not had his vacci­na­tions, the Austra­lian Federal Court in Melbourne ruled today.

Border autho­ri­ties revoked the tennis star’s visa after he entered the country and held him in a quaran­tine hotel for several days. The autho­ri­ties‘ harass­ment earlier sparked a world­wide wave of protests against the Austra­lian government. In addi­tion to Serbia’s Presi­dent Vucic, the AfD parlia­men­tary group’s foreign policy spokesman Petr Bystron and British poli­ti­cian Nigel Farage also criti­cized Djokovic’s obst­ruc­tion by the Austra­lian Border Guard in the run-up to the event. Now the critics are cele­bra­ting the victory in court along with Djokovic.

The Austra­lian Federal Court in Melbourne ruled Monday (midnight German time) that Novak Djoković can enter Australia. The player of the century can now defend his title at the Austra­lian Open. Novak Djoković is the current number one in the tennis world rankings and a record winner at the Austra­lian Open.

The court decision was preceded by a Corona poli­tical farce. The defen­ding cham­pion was prevented from ente­ring the country by Austra­lian offi­cials for several hours after landing in Melbourne on Wednesday and was inter­ro­gated for hours. The autho­ri­ties subse­quently revoked his visa. Subse­quently, Djoković was locked up in a run-down hotel, which more closely resem­bles a prison and is used to intern migrants. The reason for the scan­da­lous measures: The tennis pro, who has been critical of the Corona measures in the past, has so far failed to disc­lose his vacci­na­tion status.

This action by the Austra­lian autho­ri­ties attracted world­wide atten­tion. Promi­nent critics of Corona restric­tions criti­cized the harassment.

Bystron: „Australia sends a devas­ta­ting signal with visa withdrawal“

In Germany, the foreign policy spokesman for the AfD parlia­men­tary group in the Bundestag, Petr Bystron, already called on Friday on Austra­lian autho­ri­ties to „revise this wrong decision.“ Bystron said that by revo­king Novak Djokovic’s visa, the Austra­lian autho­ri­ties were „sending a devas­ta­ting signal to the world“ and causing great damage to both the tour­na­ment and the country as a whole. Liter­ally, he criticized:

„They are preven­ting a healthy person from ente­ring their country and asking him to take a vacci­na­tion that has not been proven to be effective.“

In addi­tion to criti­ci­zing the action, the foreign policy expert argu­ably caught a sore spot for the country, which gene­rates much of its revenue from tourism:

„With this decision, Austra­lian autho­ri­ties are destroying in one fell swoop the image of Australia as a country with a laid-back life­style, built up over decades by ‚Tourism Australia‘ with tens of millions of dollars in adver­ti­sing money,“ Bystron said.

Indeed, the intern­ment of tennis star Djokovic in a quaran­tine hotel stood in stark contrast to the core message of the Austra­lian tourism authority’s marke­ting campaign, which for years placed „the prover­bial Aussie noncha­lance“ at the fore­front of its communications.

Nigel Farage: „…Think what they might do to you one day!“

The former leader of Britain’s Ukip party, Nigel Farage, also came out in support of Djokovic. He conta­cted the tennis star’s family and reported on the harass­ment of the Serb. According to family members, the tennis pro had his wallet as well as his cell phone stolen during his detention. In addi­tion, he had been put in a „run-down hotel“ that was „more like a prison.“

Farage posited:

„If they can treat the number one tennis player in the world like this… Think what they could do to you one day!“ and posed the ques­tion: „Why is the majo­rity willing to allow the government to take away our free­doms and rights in the name of figh­ting this virus?“

Presi­dent Vucic: „All of Serbia is behind Djokovic“

Serbia’s Presi­dent Alek­sandar Vucic already expressed outrage over Djokovic’s expul­sion last week, assu­ring „all of Serbia is behind him“ after a phone call with the Serbian tennis pro. Serbian autho­ri­ties will take all measures to end the harass­ment of the world’s best tennis player within the shor­test possible time, Vucic wrote. Djokovic’s denial of entry and subse­quent detention was called a „poli­tical witch hunt“ by Serbia’s presi­dent. Millions of fans showed soli­da­rity with Djokovic worldwide.

With this poli­tical tail­wind behind him, Djoković’s lawyers sued to have his visa canceled, clai­ming in court that the athlete tested posi­tive for Covid-19 on Dec. 16 – as he had in June 2020. The athlete had argued that he should be consi­dered „reco­vered.“ The posi­tive test had enti­tled Djokovic to obtain a medical exemp­tion permit from the Austra­lian government in the state of Victoria. The latter autho­rized him to parti­ci­pate in the Austra­lian Open in Melbourne. A Corona-related poli­tical farce thus came to an end. The excep­tional player defeated the bureau­cracy and can now begin the defense of his title. On Wednesday, his oppon­ents will be drawn on the tennis court.

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