Men’s World Number 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic won’t be feeling much love for Australia’s government or its immigration officials right now, as he languishes in a quarantine hotel awaiting a decision on whether he can stay in the country.
Having gained a medical exemption to the rule that players must prove themselves fully vaccinated to compete in the Australian Open, Djokovic fell foul of the country’s strict Covid laws as he tried to enter without adequate documentation, initially being told he would be instantly deported.
This was the statement from Australia’s PM.
Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 5, 2022
His legal team managed to block that move, but a hearing to make a final decision won’t be held until Monday, leaving the player stuck in a closely supervised facility, reported to be ‘basic’.
Australia has been under some of the most stringent Covid rules in the world, and 90 per cent of the population is vaccinated, so Djokovic’s attempt to take advantage of one of the exemptions – without explaining why – did not go down well.
Australian Open ballboys heading onto centre court for a Novak Djokovic match: pic.twitter.com/OvufsnsHEL
— Byron Kaye (@byronkaye) January 4, 2022
Let me see if I understand this: Naomi Osaka was forced out of the French Open because she didn't want to do media interviews for mental health reasons but Djokovic got a COVID vaccine exemption for the Australian Open?
— Charlotte Clymer (@cmclymer) January 5, 2022
Whoever knocks Djokovic out of the #AusOpen may never need to buy a beer In Australia ever again.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshMedia) January 4, 2022
His current predicament, however, caused much hilarity.
Having a great first day in my new job handling Novak’s travel arrangements.
— James Oh Brien (@mrjamesob) January 5, 2022
The important thing to remember about Novak Djokovic being denied entry to Australia after spending a day in the airport thinking he was more important than everyone else is that it is incredibly funny.
— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) January 5, 2022
— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) January 5, 2022
maybe Novak Djokovic could set up his own #antivaxx tennis tournament and invite Denise Welch and Right Said Fred to play
— dave (@davemacladd) January 6, 2022
If I was Novak Djokovic, I would simply have taken two doses of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations, then quietly collected my millions of dollars for playing tennis
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) January 5, 2022
Novak’s quite the nominative determinism
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) January 6, 2022
Guys, it’s important to note we don’t *know* Djokovic got an exemption because he’s a famous tennis player. It might have just been because he’s rich.
— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) January 4, 2022
Unlucky @DjokerNole Flight home? pic.twitter.com/D8mpNq4jEB
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) January 5, 2022
Let Novak in but make him play every match in full PPE.
— Siobhan Heanue (@siobhanheanue) January 6, 2022
BREAKING: Novak Djokovic to stay in Australia as an au pair #auspol
— Peter Broelman (@Broelman) January 6, 2022
BREAKING En route back from Australia, Novak Djokovic has become lodged in the Suez Canal
— alex kealy (@alexkealy) January 5, 2022
Novak Djokovic can stay in Australia if he allows the Prime Minister to kick him through the gates of the Serbian embassy pic.twitter.com/2ESmcCwgMj
— Fred Delicious (@Fred_Delicious) January 5, 2022
The Djokovic situation is, above all, absolutely hilarious.
— Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) January 5, 2022
Preferred Novax Djokovic when he was just playing tennis and doing his hilarious impressions tbh.
— Sooz Kempner (@SoozUK) January 5, 2022
I would pay good money to watch the Nothing to Declare episode involving the Djokovic clan
— Flo Lloyd-Hughes (@FloydTweet) January 5, 2022
Novak: My body my choice
Australia: Our country our rules mate. Cheers#novakdjokovic
— Alecia Samuels (@wheresalecia) January 6, 2022
All Djokovic had to do was show the documentation. If he'd tried to operate a forklift or counsel traumatised children without the relevant licence, I imagine he would have been told to piss off as well.
— Jason (@NickMotown) January 5, 2022
Novak Djokovic supporters take to the streets of Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/7lAXrLaVsI
— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) January 5, 2022
Piers Morgan summed it up.
The #Djokovic saga is not about whether you believe in covid vaccines, but whether you believe famous sports stars should play by the same rules as everyone else. He has the right not to be jabbed, and Australia has the right to chuck him out for making a dodgy visa application.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 5, 2022
If things don’t go his way, Djokovic’s Australian court experience won’t be anything like the one he expected.
The number of people who didn’t get this Roger Federer joke took it to a whole new level
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