Novak Djokovic and the Australian Open


Courtesy of Al Jazeera

Novak gets denied entry at Melbourne Airport

By Kareem Rifai, Staff Writer

On Sunday, January 30, Rafael Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in the 2022 men’s Australian Open. However, the game itself was not the star of the show; that award goes to Novak Djokovic. With a chance to win his 10th straight Australian Open and a record-breaking 21 Grand Slams, Novak had a lot to lose.

Originally Novak was given an exemption to play after confirming that he had tested positive for COVID in December. Nonetheless, upon arriving in Melbourne on January 5th and confirming that he was not vaccinated, his Australian Visa had been revoked. In an attempt to overturn the decision, Novak and his legal team had presented two COVID tests to an Australian federal court. The first test taken on December 16th showed a positive result and the second taken 6 days later on the 22nd showed a negative result.

Still, questions were asked of Djokovic regarding the tests and more specifically their confirmation codes. With the confirmation code of the first test (7371999) being higher than the second test (7320919). BBC had investigated if Serbian tests confirmation codes are generated in number order. They found that out of 56 samples, the earlier the test the lower the code compared to the matching test, with the only outlier being Djokovic’s test on the 16th. Additionally, according to data scientists, Djokovic’s positive test on the 16th was more likely taken on the 25 of December.

Djokovic came under even more heat after photos on his social media had emerged showing him attending a photoshoot and interview with a French media outlet. Djokovic has responded to the criticism claiming that he had made an “error of judgment”. Wayne Hills junior Ricardo Montanez, and fellow Patriot Press writer claims that he’s “sick of celebrities thinking they’re exempted from the rules that everyone else has to follow”.

Ricardo’s opinion seems to be a common theme among many Australians regarding Djokovic. Many are angered that he was even given an exemption in the first place while Australian citizens have had to deal with some of the most strict quarantine rules in the world.

Conversely, Djokovic has been met with much support with protests from his fellow Serbian countrymen. Led by Djokovic’s father who compared Novak’s detention in Australia to the crucifixion of Jesus and even went as far as saying that the whole situation is a conspiracy against the Serbian people. Outside his country, he’s been met with support from people around the world, with a small town in Montenegro naming Djokovic an honorary citizen.

Despite the support Djokovic has gotten, the Australian government has held its ground in its decision to deport Djokovic for his vaccine status and careless behavior regarding Covid-19. Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has even warned Kanye West that he cannot tour the country unvaccinated, emphasizing “It doesn’t matter who you are, they’re the rules”.