Weary of harsh COVID-19 border restrictions, many Australians wanted Novak Djokovic deported for traveling to a tennis tournament without being vaccinated.
But the backdrop to the government’s tough line is Australia's complicated, and strongly criticized, immigration and border policies.
A decade ago, thousands of people were boarding rickety fishing boats to seek asylum in Australia.
The conservative government revamped immigration policy, turned back the boats and sent the passengers to immigration centers on poor island nations.
Now, Djokovic's expulsion has become the focus of the government’s claim to a tough stance on border protection. Opposition leaders argue Djokovic has exposed the government's failures.