Let me breakdown this Novak Djokovic-Australian Open mess

Novak, that's what you get.

Novak, that’s what you get.
picture: Getty Images

Let’s start by talking about Novak Djokovic’s skills. He is very good at hitting the fuzzy yellow bouncy tennis balls. He can hit them hard, yet he can also hit them very softly. He makes people clap happily the way he hits tennis balls. He won very big prizes. Hitting the mysterious yellow bouncy balls well made him a very wealthy man.

Well done, Novak!

Unfortunately, being good at tennis does not stimulate your immune system to produce the antibodies that fight the coronavirus. Getting vaccinated does. (And also get COVID, which is something Djokovic has done at least twice, maybe, but more on that later.) Many countries have put in place rules to make sure people who come into their cities, hotels and restaurants aren’t. going to spread the virus. Australian officials stopped Djokovic at immigration when he arrived to play this year’s Australian Open, and they packaged His medical exemption was not valid.

Which is where our story picks up.

Djokovic held a hearing on Monday to determine whether the nine-time (record) Australian Open champion can stay in Australia and play, remembering that Australia has some of the strictest COVID rules any democratic government has imposed on its citizens.

Djokovic’s lawyers say The medical exemption he requested to enter is based on a positive PCR test for the coronavirus on December 16, according to a report by the BBC. And if this is the case, then Tennis writer Ben Rothenberg He points out on his Twitter page, there are some huge red flags. The first is that the deadline for submitting the exemption request was December 10, and the second is that on December 16, Djokovic’s many social media posts appeared with children inside and without masks at an event. On the 17th, Djokovic tweeted pictures of himself receiving his own stamp from his native Serbia at a personal ceremony.

Since Djokovic has not been vaccinated, According to the facts in his case for admissionThe only way to claim a medical exemption was to get COVID within six months of admission. So, while he was planning to play the tournament, which begins on January 17th, how did he think he would qualify for entry?

He just happened to test positive, and could apply for the exemption, but he hasn’t quarantined or taken any other steps to prevent its spread?

None of that makes sense.

There are a lot of questions about the exemption you are applying for, and it may or may not be due. On whether the people who told him they let him play in the tournament were the same people who are determining which traveler can enter the country. Djokovic’s lawyers say he got permission to enter the country from an immigration official, and if so, the hearing will determine that the decision is based on factual information.

And in a wild twist, you can actually watch the hearing through this audience Link.

The top-ranked ATP player also hosted a three-location Super Spreader in the Balkans when the pandemic first started. So here’s a player on planes and hotels, greeting people without masks and indoors and admitting they contracted the virus twice. Should Australia let him in? This is a nation that has been very conservative about the conditions of spread, and there are a lot of Australians who have followed the rules, and they are exhausted by the lockdowns, and they look at this and think that maybe they should have taken tennis lessons more seriously.

You can’t walk to the border with a positive PCR test and explain that you get COVID all the time, so that’s all good?

Why on earth would Australia allow a reckless, twice-infected, anti-breaker who is clearly not interested in following the rules, and is so likely to play fast with exemption protocols so he can hit a yellow ball with a bat?

And now, it’s great that Djokovic has riled the international crowd for freedom for all. British ogre Nigel Farage tweeted:

“I am speaking with the Djokovic family and they are clear that Tennis Australia, in line with Victorian state law, allowed Novak to come to Australia because he had evidence of a positive PCR test for the past six months. Then he was arrested and his phone and wallet taken away.”

Well, because Djokovic has chosen to stay and have his case discussed before a judge, so he has a room at the airport. Countries have laws, and when you enter sovereign states, you have to agree to follow their rules. You would think that the leader of the Brexit movement would get the entire sovereign nation. Many on social media have welcomed Farage to campaign for immigrant rights, but this of course only applies to one famous figure, not the thousands of people fleeing oppression and poverty who look to enter the UK or the US each year. Wait until he hears about conditions on the southern border.

But I digress.

The bottom line is that Djokovic is not much different from everyone else. He chose not to vaccinate. Lots of people have done it, and some of those have actual medical reasons that they can’t. Choosing not to vaccinate has consequences. You may not be able to work in certain environments as an unvaccinated person, enter certain restaurants, or travel freely between borders.

Nobody does this to Djokovic. We are in a pandemic, and the ways we adapt are often uncomfortable. Look at the debate around schools, no one would choose to keep kids at home under normal circumstances, but in a pandemic, very difficult considerations are at play.

But no one has the right to decide what is reasonable for him is also reasonable for all persons with whom he comes in contact, especially at the borders of a state. So Djokovic will have to decide between vaccination and his quest to become the greatest champion of his time against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, or hope his name, standing and PCR positives in time will allow him to enter the Grand Slam nations.

Or as Nadal said: “He made his own decisions, everyone is free to make their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.”


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