More tension for Djokovic: the judges retire to deliberate

More tension for Djokovic: the judges retire to deliberate

Novak Djokovic is still on the edge. his battle for playing the Australian Open, which starts this Monday, without getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is not over yet at trial in the Federal Court of Australia. After five hours of hearing and hearing the parties, Judges David O’Callaghan, James Allsop and Justice Anthony Besanko retired to deliberate and the decision is expected late afternoon in Australia, Sunday morning in Spain. There will be no possible appeal. In the next few hours, the Serbian will be put on a plane to Europe or will debut at the Grand Slam.

At 09:30 in Melbourne, 23:30 on Saturday Spanish peninsular time, a trial began that went beyond sport, in the midst of a global pandemic and while Australia registered 58,837 infections in the last 24 hours with 383 people in intensive care units. A context that played against the tennis player, presented by the Australian government as a “public danger” to health.

Djokovic (34 years old) lived a tough Saturday. After testifying before Immigration officials first thing in the morning, he was allowed to meet with his lawyers to prepare for the hearing and at noon he was arrested again and taken to the sinister Park Hotel where irregular immigrants have been confined for years. Early on Sunday, he was transferred to the Hall & Wilcox law firm in the Rialto South Tower in Melbourne, from where his lawyers led by Nick Wood intervened electronically before the court.

Wood remembered the phrase ofJudge Anthony Kelly, who returned the visa to his client in the first instance: “What else can this man do?” And he noted that the reasons for denying him entry on January 5 had nothing to do with those that the minister Alex Hawke argued to revoke, with the power that the law gives him, the visa again.


In summary, the ‘aussie’ government, which accepted the validity of the medical exemption issued by Tennis Australia in order not to pass a 14-day quarantine, stated in an affidavit that Djokovic could “encourage anti-vaccine sentiment”, leading to “increased civil unrest”. And he censored his attitude after testing positive on December 16. “Your behavior may encourage or influence others to imitate your behavior and fail to comply with appropriate health measures after a positive test, and so lead to disease transmission and a serious risk to your health and the health of others.

The Balkan lawyer argued that Djokovic only defends “freedom of choice” disfiguring the minister who did not seek clarification in recent days about the player’s position. Too He stressed that the presence of this in numerous tournaments never caused protests from activists against vaccination. Not even in Melbourne in 2021 and that the incidents of the last few days had to do with the withdrawal of the visa, not with the denial movement. “It is irrational to look only to one side. The anti-vaccine sentiment can be fueled by the cancellation of the visa,” he warned. His whole strategy was to remove Djokovic from the role of leading anti-immunization activism.


“At this point in the pandemic, he could have been vaccinated. If he isn’t, it indicates a choice on his part,” Stephen Lloyd replied later., state attorney, who elaborated on the negative example that the position of a great star represents and recalled that, being infected, he attended events without a mask such as the interview with L’Équipe on December 18. As an example that Djokovic is an “icon” for anti-vaccines, he recalled the vaccination rate in Serbia, less than 50%.

With these arguments in mind, the full court magistrates, who had previously taken a one-hour break for lunch, left to deliberate. The whole world, to wait.

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