The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam event in professional tennis. It’s the four top events on the tour. It would make sense that the Australian Open champion and number one male player in the world would be able to play when the tournament begins on January 17.
But not so fast in Australia’s COVID penal colony.
Novak Djokovic is the 20-time winner of major tournaments and is currently in visa limbo. He could be deported from Australia because of his vaccination status.
Paul Sakkal, editor of The Age in Melbourne writes that the nine-time Australian Open champion “failed to present appropriate evidence to meet country entry requirements.” Unvaccinated persons must present this evidence at the border.
Djokovic declined to confirm whether he received a COVID shot, probably because it is not his business. The hearing of the tennis star has been postponed by a judge until Monday.
Djokovic thought he could enter Australia after arriving in Melbourne, Victoria. Djokovic claimed a medical exemption, which was sufficient to allow him into Victoria and the Australian Open. However, the Australian Border Force disapproved.
Even though the Australian government is conservative, it has taken a tough line and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has commented on the “very clear rules” regarding vaccine exemptions.
Morrison stated, “You must have a medical exemption.” He didn’t have a valid medical exemption. “We make the call at the border and it’s there that it’s enforced.”
Authorities have moved Djokovic into a hotel that houses refugees.
His parents reacted with a bit of hysteria to the tennis star’s actions. His father, Srdjan, claimed that Australia was “stomping on Novak to stomp over Serbian people and Serbian people,” while Dijana, his mother, said that authorities are “keeping him as a prisoner.”
Fox News also reported protesters gathered outside the hotel holding signs and supporting Djokovic.
Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia’s President, has rented a Melbourne house and asked Australian authorities for Djokovic’s transfer.
Australia is blaming Djokovic for his success? ESPN notes that Morrison says not, but he hinted that Djokovic’s social-media posts regarding his medical exemption were a target.
He said, “One of the things that the Border Force does is they act upon intelligence to direct the attention to potential arrivals.” “When people make public statements about what they have and what they are going to do, it draws significant attention to them.”
He said that anyone who does this, regardless of whether they are a celebrity, politician, or a tennis player, can expect to be asked more questions than others.
Throughout this pandemic, the Australian government has been nothing short of tyrannical.
This authoritarian spirit may prevent the greatest man in professional tennis from attempting to win his fourth title in succession. It’s a shame.