World’s #1 Tennis Player on Time Out?


Novak Djokovic is currently ranked as the number one men’s tennis player. Courtesy of Tatiana.

Matsuka Gaja, Wilcox and the World Editor

Novak Djokovic, the world’s number one male tennis player, was banned from playing in the Australian Open, after being deported due to his anti-vaccination status. The Australian Open required all players to be vaccinated and Djokovic announced that he has received a medical exemption to participate in the games early January without vaccination. However, as it seemed that Djokovic would once again wipe out the Australian Open after his visa was reinstated, it was canceled on January 10th for the second time, causing him to be deported from the country on January 16th after losing to his appeal at the Australian Federal Court. This cancellation could potentially ban him from entering Australia for the next three years as well, meaning he will miss at least the next two Australian Opens. 

According to CBS News, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who canceled Djokovic’s visa for the second time, said he made his decision in regard to the public’s interest and safety. Since Djokovic was unvaccinated against COVID-19, the judges rejected his appeals because his presence “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by others in Australia.” He has been known for his refusals to reveal his vaccination publicly since the start of the pandemic in 2020, and mentioned in a Facebook live that “he was curious about wellbeing and how we can empower our metabolism to be in the best shape to defend against imposters like COVID-19.” Even though he never publicly announced an extreme position of his vaccination stance nor demonstrated support to the anti-vaccination movement, he became a hero for anti-vaccination activists. As the icon of freedom, many twitter users posted his support and called for a boycott of the Australian Open. 

Though kicked out of the Australian Open, the new French law passed on January 24th may allow for Djokiciv to participate in the French Open this year regardless of his vaccination status. This new law made it so that people who prove to be tested positive for COVID-19 in the past six months are exempted from having to show their vaccination cards for entry, according to the New York Post. As the French Open takes place in May and June and Djokovic claimed that he has tested positive in December, if this law keeps its place until then, he will be allowed to participate. However, the French Sports Ministry and French Open organizers refused to confirm Djokovic’s participation, saying that this law can change any time during this chaotic pandemic. In the midst of rising Omicron cases in France, this new law caused few protests, however the French government upgraded their “health pass”, making it available only to those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from the virus.

Will Djokovic be able to keep his title as the world’s number one tennis player or lose his tickets to even participate in major tennis tournaments due to his unvaccinated status? The ongoing pandemic and future of vaccination mandates are unclear, but one thing that is clear is that his presence will alter the tournament results.