Novak Djokovic’s 2022 Australian Open Debacle

Sport and politics need to be separate, and we got a nasty reminder of that fact during the Australian  Open 2022. That being said, we should also avoid mixing healthcare and politics, but during the pandemic, things just start to spiral out of control. So let’s go over the whole situation in order to see what exactly happened during this important tennis tournament. The best-case scenario is that we learn from it, and make sure these things do not happen again. 

Mandatory Vaccination of the Participants

Australian Open rules were pretty clear – if you want to play in the tournament and enter the country you need to be vaccinated. However, you are also allowed to provide evidence that you are not infected and medical exemption documents as an alternative to the vaccine. This makes sense as there are instances when getting vaccinated can be harmful, but those are rare conditions. 

Novak Complied with These Rules 

Novak Djokovic is one of the players who were not vaccinated, but he was definitely not the only one. He provided documents for a medical exemption, and once again some of the other players did the same thing. However, his Visa documents supposedly require a person to be vaccinated which is why he was denied entrance into the country. As a result, he was put into a hotel, until the Australian government decided what to do. 

Even this situation created a problem as he could not train and do the necessary preparations for the upcoming tournament. Luckily, his legal team did act swiftly and filed a complaint.

The Court Allowed Novak to Enter

After examining all the documents and arguments from Novak’s legal team the court decided that there was nothing wrong with his documents. They overturned the decision made by the government and allowed Novak to enter Australia and play in the tournament. This should have been the end of it, but it turns out this wasn’t just a legal issue, and we can’t help but notice that personal feelings were involved. 

The Australian migration minister decided to leverage his authority and still reject Novak’s Visa. Given the time frame when all of this happened it was already too late for Novak. At this time the tournament was about to start, so even if the court decided in Novak’s favor it would have been too late for him to compete. 

Why Did This Happen? 

It’s hard to say with certainty, but we know that Australia struggles with the COVID pandemic and is trying to enforce mandatory vaccination. Their citizens are pushing back and Novak’s stance on the vaccine question seems to encourage those who are against mandatory vaccinations.