Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

In both practical and legal terms, its main responsibility is to adjust the men’s draw so that it takes into account what the federal court decides before the first round and move forward with running a tennis tournament.

If it tends to take Mr Hawke’s concessions at face value, Tennis Australia may even be tempted to demand justification.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says Djokovic poses a persistent threat to public health and civil order.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke says Djokovic poses a persistent threat to public health and civil order.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen, Getty Images

This may point to the fact that the Minister now accepts that the decision of its independent medical panel to grant Djokovic a medical dispensation due to a recent COVID-19 infection was in line with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization Guidelines.

On a strict, black-letter reading of Mr. Hawke’s reasons, first revealed by Aging and Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday, Tennis Australia can also seek solace, if it will, in the thought that it no longer has a case to answer.


Tiley is a smart and experienced enough sports administrator to understand that this will not be washed away.

Although Mr Hawke’s reasons bypass all critical questions about Tennis Australia’s behavior in an episode that has damaged the social license and international reputation of one of Melbourne’s major events, they do not resolve them.

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley oversaw the Australian Open's official draw on Thursday, a day before Djokovic learned his visa had been canceled for the second time.

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley oversaw the Australian Open’s official draw on Thursday, a day before Djokovic learned his visa had been canceled for the second time.Credit:Eddie Jim

At some point, after the federal court has made its decision and the Australian Open has been played with or without its defending champion, there must be a cold, harsh record of Tennis Australia’s actions and the federal chambers and agencies with which they acted. . in the run-up to Djokovic’s arrival.

Within Tennis Australia, there is also a need for honest introspection on why it kept pushing for a means to allow unvaccinated tennis players into Australia in the light of clear signals from its main financier and supporter, the Victorian government, about, that the government did ‘do not want them here.


The fact that a highly qualified panel – consisting of Doherty Institute professor Joe Torresi, an infectious disease expert from Austin Hospital and professor of medicine from the University of Melbourne, and infectious disease expert from Monash University, Dr. Nenad Macesic – gave Djokovic a medical dispensation in the first place. a major mistake in the process.

No blame for this lies with the members of the panel.

According to the guidelines of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, a recent COVID-19 infection can be considered a temporary contraindication to vaccines because it may require people to postpone their vaccination after medical advice. This is not designed to open a loophole for people who never intended to be vaccinated.

It was certainly not intended for a person in Djokovic’s relationship who, after refusing vaccination for most of a year, accidentally caught the bug a month before the tournament and promptly booked his dispensation.

Panelists had no opportunity to apply such considerations because they did not know that the application they were considering was made by Djokovic. Making the rating process anonymous, apparently to ensure that star players like Djokovic were not given special attention, allowed him to slip under the COVID-secured fence.


Was this all by a devilishly clever design or just one in an uneven set of debacles that contributed to the world’s No. 1 tennis player being beaten up in immigration jail a day before this year’s first major tournament? Did any of the board members of Tennis Australia, whom Tiley briefed on the issue, raise concerns about his approach?

Any competition between cock-up and conspiracy in sports administration is usually a skewed race. If Tennis Australia is to understand its flaws, it can not pretend it is already out of the hook.

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