Novak Djokovic reportedly preparing to serve up some pay back for Australia’s ban

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In a potential alternative meaning for you’ve been served, Novak Djokovic is reportedly lawyering up with the idea of possibly suing the Australian government over his coronavirus-related deportation and resulting in lost prize money.

Making matters worse perhaps, the Melbourne quarantine hotel where the unvaccinated Serbian tennis superstar was stuck in for five days allegedly wasn’t exactly five-star.

Under a conservative national government, Australia has imposed some of the most draconian COVID-related restrictions of any country in the world, even as infections are currently surging there.

According to government statistics, nearly 93 percent of the population in the Land Down Under are double-vaxxed.

Although he initially obtained a medical exemption from the COVID jab, authorities reversed course and ultimately deported Djokovic — ranked as the world’s top tennis professional — after 11 days of visa drama, thereby preventing him from competing in the Australian Open tournament.

In Australia, the Liberal Party leads the conservative coalition in parliament, which given the authoritarian lockdown and vaccination rules it imposed on the citizenry under Prime Minister Scott Morrison, turns out to be ironically appropriate.

Djokovic could allegedly seek up to about $6 million in money damages in court, when the cash prize of $2.75 million for winning the tournament for the 10th time, which he was expected to do, is factored into the calculation. There is no certainty that legal action would be successful, however.

According to The Sun, Djokovic purportedly had a sit-down with attorneys to discuss his legal options:

Novak Djokovic is in talks with lawyers about suing the Australian government…for “ill treatment”…

A source close to his agent Edoardo Artladi said: “It’s well known that Novak and his family feel he was poorly treated in the quarantine hotel in Melbourne.

“His mother revealed how it was full of fleas and maggots. He was kept a virtual prisoner.”

Lawyer Toma Fila added: “He was subjected to humiliating treatment. He should sue.”

 

In the end, a three-member panel of senior jurists upheld the elite athlete’s deportation, as summarized by The New York Times:

“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,” the panel of three judges found. “This is not fanciful; it does not need evidence.”

The court noted the broad authority of the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, to control entry into the country and found he was well within his rights to cancel Mr. Djokovic’s visa on the grounds of “health and good order.”

The legal question, the judges said, was not whether Mr. Djokovic actually posed a risk to health, safety and good order to the country, but whether Mr. Hawke was “satisfied” that his presence in the country might amount to one.

 

Upon being booted from Australia, Djokovic said that he respected the court’s ruling even though he was extremely disappointed with the outcome, which precludes his ability to defend the Australian Open title.

The decision also means that he has no chance to seek a 21st Grand Slam, i.e., winning all four major championships in the same calendar year.

The others are the French Open — from which Djokovic has now been banned because of his unvaccinated status and the country’s vaccine passport requirement — along with Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

 

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