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Home / World / Novak Djokovic can sway opinion on vaccination, says court

Novak Djokovic can sway opinion on vaccination, says court

‘An iconic world tennis star may influence people of all ages, young or old, but perhaps especially the young and the impressionable, to emulate him’
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
File Photo

Reuters   |   Melbourne   |   Published 21.01.22, 03:08 AM

An Australian court said on Thursday it dismissed world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s challenge to his visa cancellation as the minister who revoked it reasonably believed Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, may be a risk to the community.

The Federal Court also rejected the argument there was no evidence that Djokovic had ever urged anyone not to get vaccinated, saying it was open to infer that the public would perceive that he was opposed to vaccinations, since he said he had not been vaccinated.

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“An iconic world tennis star may influence people of all ages, young or old, but perhaps especially the young and the impressionable, to emulate him. This is not fanciful; it does not need evidence,” the judges said.

Djokovic’s saga has fuelled global debate over the rights of people who opt not to get vaccinated as governments look to protect the community from the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday night, just hours after the court dismissed his effort to stay in the country to play at the Australian Open, where he hoped to win a record 21st major title.

That followed an 11-day rollercoaster involving two visa cancellations, two court challenges and five nights in two stints at an immigration detention hotel where asylum seekers are held.

His lawyers had argued the cancellation should be quashed on the grounds that immigration minister Alex Hawke’s decision was irrational, he lacked evidence that Djokovic’s presence in Australia may stoke anti-vaccination sentiment.



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