Novak Djokovic is compared to Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, Australia is engulfed in flames while Nero fiddles (the PCR-test results).
The Australian Open is underway, and Novak Djokovic is attempting to win his 21st Grand Slam championship, which would be a world record. Is he an advocate of human rights, or something else? Do you think anyone will care if he makes history?
Novak Djokovic has landed in Australia and has been making waves throughout the world since his arrival. It’s something that the world’s best male player, Rafael Nadal, would have liked to accomplish ahead of his journey to Australia, but for quite different reasons. In a tale that should have been about his quest for a record 21st Major singles victory, has Djokovic managed to completely twist the narrative by a sequence of actions that cannot be justified? According to certain members of the British media, this is the case. And what about the Australian press? Apparently, they’re divided: some are sticking to the party line, while others refer to him as a “lying, sly a**hole” off-camera.
It has been compared to a reality television drama, prompting calls for both a Netflix series in the vein of Drive to Survive — which now appears to be in the works, filming all of the chaos Down Under — and a special episode of everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure docu-series about the country’s border force, Border Security: Australia’s Front Line, which is currently airing on the network.
A case in point, according to the anti-Djokovic contingent, is that a nine-time Australian Open champion has infuriated and disrespected citizens of their own country, who have spent the better part of two years under strict lockdowns and now require full vaccination before doing anything from going clubbing to participating in the Australian Open itself. According to the anti-vaccination movement, this is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes, as seen by this tweet from Elaine Pearson, Australia Director, Human Rights Watch: “Cancelling #Djokovic’s visa once again reveals the Kafkaesque character of Australia’s immigration policy,” Pearson writes. When it is convenient for a political goal, the minister states that it is in the “public interest” of the country. While everything is going on, 32 refugees and asylum seekers are incarcerated at Park Hotel.”
This was the beginning of a long-running tale that has made the world’s finest male tennis player, who is currently ranked number one, appear worse and worse in the eyes of the general public.
Exactly one week later, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has had his visa revoked, spent a weekend in a government detention facility, won an appeal to have his visa reinstated, begun practising on Rod Laver Arena, confirmed that he violated Covid isolation rules in Serbia, and discovered his path to victory in the Australian Open draw — and he still faces deportation before the tournament begins in four days.
Several people, including Djokovic’s family and likely even the Serb himself, believe that this is just another instance of ‘adversity’ that the Serb has had to deal with throughout his career on his way to more records, titles, and history, in the same way that he has had to overcome hostile crowds cheering against him in the 2015 US Open and the 2019 Wimbledon finals against Roger Federer.
As recently as last week, his father Srdjan made the comparison between his son and Jesus, saying, “Jesus was crucified, and everything that could have been done to him, and he persevered, and he is still living among us.” They are attempting to crucify Novak in the same manner, underestimating him, throwing him to his knees, and doing everything they can to defeat him.”
While Djokovic’s closest friends and family members appear to be completely deaf when it comes to commenting on the rules and procedures that another country has in place regarding its border and travel requirements, their words also demonstrate why Djokovic believes he can get away with entering Victoria without being vaccinated, despite the fact that it has been the most heavily restricted state in the world for approximately 270 days.
A lot of his parents’ objections have been predicated on the idea that Australia’s treatment of their son is much worse because he is “the finest athlete, tennis player in the world,” according to his mother and father. When the world’s most powerful person believes he is greater than a country’s immunisation requirements, it’s no wonder that people closest to him believe the same thing about themselves.
No matter what the underlying reasons are for the utter polarisation of global social politics over COVID-19, it is not the ethics that are at issue. It’s about finding your tribe, aligning with those who share your beliefs, and wearing your own version of the facts on your sleeve like the latest fashion trend, because in an age where truth has become obsolete and science has become untrustworthy, who else can we turn to but our own, tailored, social-media fuelled, digital mirror?