News & Commentary

Tennis Legend Djokovic Wins 2023 Australian Open Title After Last Year’s Ban Due to ‘Unvaccinated’ Status

Deported from Australia in 2022 before he could compete, Djokovic's advocacy for medical freedom and refusal to bend to vaccine mandates drew the ire of Australian politicians and others while inspiring countless millions around the world

In a feat that the event’s broadcasters called “history in the making” moments after his victory, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic won his 10th Australian Open men’s singles title on Sunday, defeating Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in three straight sets (6-3, 7-6, 7-6) to tie Rafael Nadal for a record 22 men’s Grand Slam singles titles.

“Not only champion of Australia for a 10th time, but he is the best player on the planet again,” said the announcer immediately after Djokovic won the championship point and recaptured his No. 1 ranking. “He is not just the heir to greatness; he is greatness. Denied a chance to play here last year, he wasn’t going to be denied his 10th title in Melbourne.”

Last year, Djokovic was deported from Australia by immigration minister Alex Hawke after he had already arrived in the country for the 2022 tournament due to his decision not to receive an experimental mRNA injection.

“I consider that Mr Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission,” said Hawke at the time.

He added that, due to Djokovic’s “influence and status,” his “presence” might encourage people to “disregard or act inconsistently with public health advice and policies in Australia” — some of the most illogical and tyrannical in the world.

The “special powers” that Hawke used to revoke Djokovic’s visa have been described as “extraordinary and broad” by The Guardian and “god”-like by one of Hawke’s predecessors, former immigration minister Chris Evans, who said in 2008 that he felt that he himself had “too much power” to decide the people’s fate in immigration cases. Evans also warned about “the lack of transparency and accountability for those decisions and the lack in some cases of any appeal rights against those decisions.”

In an interview with the BBC a few weeks after his deportation from Australia, Djokovic outlined his views on the vaccine and the supreme importance of medical freedom:

Under the rule that Hawke used to deport Djokovic, the tennis star would normally be barred from the country for three years. However, his visa ban was overturned in November, clearing the way for his participation and ultimate victory in this year’s tournament, which drew record-breaking crowds.

A major lingering question is whether Djokovic will now be barred from playing in the United States (again). As reported by Reuter’s a week ago:

Novak Djokovic could end the year as the world’s top-ranked player but it would be a “disgrace” if his chances are affected by not being able to compete in the United States due to his unvaccinated status, Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas said.

[Djokovic was] not able to travel to New York for the 2022 U.S. Open without proof of vaccination, the same reason that forced him to skip ATP 1000 events at Indian Wells and Miami earlier in the year.

U.S. authorities said this month the requirement for foreign air travellers to be vaccinated against COVID would be in place until at least April 10, meaning Djokovic will miss out on Indian Wells and Miami again.

Haas, also a former world number two player, said he hoped the rules would be relaxed sooner to allow Djokovic to compete.

Given that CDC director Rochelle Walensky, Anthony Fauci, and even Bill Gates have all now admitted that the mRNA shots don’t stop infection and transmission — something a Pfizer executive recently said that the company didn’t even test for during their trials — the absurdity of the US’ travel ban against unvaccinated people from other countries could hardly be more clear.