Novak Djokovic has been making international sports headlines for weeks. He originally wanted to go to the Australian Open just to play tennis and win his 21st Grand Slam title. The problem: Djokovic is not vaccinated against the corona virus. However, vaccination is a prerequisite for participating in the tournament. Djokovic requested an exemption. But that wasn’t enough, the number one in the world tennis rankings had to be quarantined.
Since then the situation has become increasingly critical. The cause became a political issue and one of the biggest sports scandals of the 21st century. No wonder Netflix is already working on a film adaptation of the Djokovic drama. A court should ultimately decide his fate.
Meanwhile, the Serb even presented a recovery notice. According to this, Novak Djokovic is said to have found out about his second Covid infection on December 16 in Belgrade. According to Serbian rules, Djokovic should have been in quarantine for 14 days. But that wasn’t the case. Djokovic also attended an award ceremony on December 17 and gave the French newspaper The Team even an interview including a photo shoot and took part in other events – sometimes without a mask!
Two days before Christmas Eve, the number one in the tennis world delivers a negative PCR test and, according to his lawyers, receives an exemption for the Australian Open from the medical head of the Australian Tennis Association on December 30th. Djokovic then trained in Marbella (Spain). On January 5, he was finally denied entry to Melbourne – initially!
Finally, a court will decide Novak Djokovic’s fate. The Serb appealed – and was right in court! At that time, however, it was already known that Integration Minister Alex Hawke could still cancel the visa. A few days later, on January 11th, the next bang: Before his flight to Australia, he gave false information on his entry form. When he was traveling 14 days before the start of the Australian Open, he ticked “no” when asked about his travel activities. On January 12, Djokovic spoke up himself. He also admitted to making mistakes.
In his statement, Djokovic defended himself against “misinformation.” He blamed his management for the errors in the immigration form. The Serb emphasized that it was a “human” mistake. A deliberate misrepresentation ruled out the number one in the world rankings. Today, Friday, another decision finally followed: Integration Minister Hawke withdrew Djokovic’s visa. The minister justified the decision with the “public interest.” Under Australian law, visas can be withdrawn if there are safety or health concerns.
He did not take the decision lightly and carefully checked all the documents that the immigration authorities, the Australian border guard and Mr Djokovic presented to him. According to the law, tennis pro Djokovic now refrain from applying for a visa to Australia “except under certain circumstances” for three years. Djokovic himself can take action against this verdict. Not participating in the Australian Open would also have sporting consequences for the Serbs. He could be replaced as number one. With a title win, Alexander Zverev or Daniil Medvedev could pass. The Australian Open already starts on Monday, January 17th.