Novak Djokovic Practices For Australian Open As He Waits

World tennis number one Novak Djokovic took to court on Friday to practice for the Australian Open as he waited to hear whether Australia would revoke his visa for a second time, scuttling his bid for a record 21st major tennis title. There is danger. The relaxed-looking Djokovic practiced his serve and return with his crew on an empty court in Melbourne Park, occasionally resting on a chair to wipe the sweat from his face. Defending champion Djokovic was included in Thursday’s draw as the top seed and will face fellow Serb Miomir Kekmanovic for his opening match, probably on Monday or Tuesday.

The decision to revoke her visa over COVID-19 entry rules could set off a second court battle by the Serbian tennis star, with a court revoking an earlier one and her release from immigration detention on Monday. done.

Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, citing a source in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party, said the government was “leaning strongly” towards revoking visas.

Djokovic, a vaccine skeptic, sparked widespread anger in Australia when he announced last week that he was heading to Melbourne for the Australian Open, giving visitors a medical exemption for vaccination requirements against COVID-19 .

Upon arrival, the Australian Border Force decided that his exemption was invalid and he was placed in an immigration detention hotel with asylum seekers for several days.

Australia has endured some of the world’s longest lockdowns, has a 90% vaccination rate among adults, and a runaway Omicron outbreak has brought nearly a million cases in the past two weeks.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said on television on Friday morning that the visa decision was a matter for the country’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, but overall the government’s policy settings were “crystal clear”.

On Channel 9’s Today show, he said, “that is, people who enter Australia who are not Australian citizens, should be given the double-dose vaccine, unless they have a clear and valid medical exemption against it.” Ho.”

play by your own rules

Greek world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas said Djokovic was “playing by his own rules” and making vaccinated players “like fools”.

“Nobody really thought they could come to Australia without vaccinations and not follow protocol… it takes a lot of courage to do that and risk a Grand Slam, which I don’t think Many players will.” Tsitsipas said in an interview with India’s WION news channel.

“Statistics say 98 percent of the players have been vaccinated and did what they had to do to come and perform and play in Australia.”

An online survey by the News Corp media group found that 83 percent supported the government trying to deport the tennis star.

“Absolutely, he should go. He hasn’t done the right thing and is being a little cheeky about it,” said Venus Virgin Tomarz, 45, who lives in Melbourne.

“To be honest, it’s political,” said Jacob Coluccio, 25, who lives in Melbourne. But if what the media is saying is true – that he didn’t come with the right paperwork – with him just like most others. must be dealt with.” ,

The saga has sparked a global debate on the rights of choice for vaccines and has become a difficult issue.

(See key moments from the tennis player’s Australian saga)

Elections are due in Australia by May, and while Morrison’s government has garnered support at home for its tough stance on border security, it has not escaped criticism over Djokovic’s poor handling of visas.

“It should never have come,” said opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

“He never answered the question of how this visa was granted if he was not eligible because he had not been fully vaccinated.”

Djokovic’s aim was not helped by an incorrect entry announcement, where a box was ticked saying he had not traveled abroad in the two weeks before leaving for Australia.

Actually, he traveled between Spain and Serbia.

Djokovic, 34, accused his agent of error and admitted he should not have done an interview and photoshoot for a French newspaper on 18 December while he was infected with COVID-19.


Independent Senator Jackie Lambie said it was “time to stop this debacle”.

“Why didn’t the minister do anything about it? If he’s going to do it on character, because he believes his subordination has been lied to, then, you know, when our kids play in school. If so, this is what we do. They are sent home.”

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