Hit the road, Novak

/the saga of Novak Djokovic continues.

/the saga of Novak Djokovic continues.
Image: Getty Images

No-vax Djokovic is having a hell of a time trying to play in the Australian Open, a Grand Slam he has won a record nine times, because it turns out this pandemic is serious business. He had his visa revoked for a second time and faces deportation because he’s not vaccinated, according to ESPN. He’s expected to appeal, but the timing of Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke revoking the visa again has put Djokovic up against not only the courts but also the clock.


He’s slated to play Day 1 (Monday) of the tournament but will be replaced if he doesn’t get all of his paperwork into the courts and get the ruling overturned prior to start of play, something Melbourne-based immigration lawyer Kian Bone told ESPN was an “extremely difficult” task. I’m not going to pretend to be an immigration expert or know anything about the Australian legal system, but I’m also not going to pretend I want any of this to work out for Djokovic.

Throwing a legal tantrum is almost as annoying as refusing to get jabbed. The rest of the field conformed to protocols, so it’s time to give up. Go home if you can’t act like a big boy. Naomi Osaka showed more grace and poise than she needed to when she stepped away for not attending a couple news conferences, and — as our Sam Fels pointed out — still got roasted for it. Put your head down, accept your fate, and stop acting like tennis owes you something. This is not some wild point you have to win. The Aussies just smoked one down the line. Let it go.

Here’s Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison backing Hawke’s decision:

“This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian, but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods. … Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected. This is what the Minister is doing in taking this action today.”

Instead of getting back to normal life, it’s people like Djokovic who are holding everyone back. He already hijacked the tournament with this nonsense, and now, according to his lawyer, seems to think the immigration minister revoked his visa not for safety reasons but because he may become a symbol for the anti-vaxxers to rally around.

“The minister only considers the potential for exciting anti-vax sentiment in the event that (Djokovic is) present,” attorney Nick Wood said.


The thing is, it’s probably a bit of both, but fucking science dictates that if you aren’t vaccinated, you’re a health risk. How many pandemic PSAs, real doctors, hospitalizations, lockdowns, case surges, and deaths is it going to take for these idiots to realize this? There are a disturbing number of anti-vax “symbols” to devil worship already, and trust me, Djokovic is one of them.

If you don’t get vaccinated, you agree to wear masks when you’re supposed to, stay away from places you can’t go into, and abstain from doing the things you’re not allowed to do. This isn’t that hard. If you can read, you can figure it out. Catching COVID-19 in December is more of a reason not to let you into the country than it is cause for a medical exemption, which is exactly what Djokovic is pushing. Natural immunization doesn’t exist. It’s a fairy tale concept that people who aren’t vaccinated but caught COVID try to use to justify getting to do what they want.


The vaccination rate among adults in Victoria state, where the Open is held, is more than 90 percent, but officials reported 35,000 new cases Friday, and locals seem pretty irritated that an entitled tennis star would get to skirt the rules when they’ve been barred from seeing dying family members or new grandchildren, having that big wedding, etc. (Apparently, the Australian government royally screwed this up, and it’ll look terrible for Prime Minister Morrison, who has an upcoming election, if Djokovic plays, so there’s also that. The Sydney Morning Herald’s David Crowe wrote an excellent piece about it. Always nice to see we’re not the only country shitting the bed.)

The kicker to all of this is if Djokovic doesn’t win the appeal, he would be banned from receiving a visa for the next three years, according to Australian laws. While that can be waived, and you’d imagine it would be if shit ever gets back to normal, it’d still be hilarious if his pursuit to become the most decorated men’s tennis player ever stalls out because he couldn’t play in his favorite Grand Slam in the last few years he could still win it.


He’s tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at 20 a piece, and it appears he will have to wait until at least the French Open, a tournament he’s only won twice that kicks off on his 35th birthday, for another chance to break the stalemate. Federer was 36 when he won his last Grand Slam, the 2018 Australian Open, and Nadal was 34 during his last Grand Slam victory, the 2020 French Open. All three are still playing, but what they’re doing at ages considered advanced for tennis players is unprecedented, and there’s no telling how many more healthy chances Djokovic will have to notch No. 21.

I guess standing up for… umm… anti-medicine(?) is more important than the chance to win a record-extending 10th Australian Open and a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam. There are a lot of commendable causes to sacrifice for, but that ain’t one.

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