Novak Djokovic seems undeterred even in the midst of the most troubled hours of his life. In its existence there is no place for grays. The novel that pitted him against the Australian federal government in the midst of a fight over play the Australian Open without getting vaccinated against covid generated a neat fork: people either love it or hate it.
World’s number one had taken a key victory in the audience Monday before the representatives of the Australian federal government, which had made the decision to cancel his visa and deport him last week despite having a medical exemption extended by Tennis Australia, the organizing federation of the first Grand Slam of the year, and the State of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne, the city in which the tournament that will begin on January 17 is played.
The exemption was granted on the grounds that Djokovic had had covid in the last six months: the positive dates from December 16. Just landed at Melbourne airport the Serbian was delayed by the Border Force from Australia by not have the corresponding visa for the exemption. He was isolated for five days in a refugee hotel until he won the hearing and was able to leave for training in Melbourne. Now, however, while he hopes that the federal government will not make the decision to deport him again, Djokovic faces his own truths.
On December 17, With the positive confirmed, the Serbian participated in a trophy ceremony at the Djokovic Tennis Center without any type of health care or social distancing, surrounded by children and without a mask. One day later was part of a photo session of the French newspaper L’Equipe, also without protection, within the framework of the delivery of the “Champion of Champions” award, in an extension of the position that he already knew how to exhibit in mid-2020.
This Wednesday Djokovic broke the silence around the controversy and admitted that on December 16 he underwent a covid test whose result he learned a day later, after the children’s event in Serbia, and before going to the interview with the newspaper. “I felt obliged to go to the interview with L’Equipe so as not to leave the journalist lying down, but I kept social distance and wore a chinstrap all the time, except during photographs. Returning home, I isolated myself and reflected. I made a mistake in judgment and I admit that I should have postponed the appointment, “he said in the statement.
The first of its truths It puts him in trouble with his country: he acknowledged that he broke the isolation even under suspicion, at least, of having covid. A suspicion that is confirmed in his own words: Before undergoing the PCR test that was positive, he had already performed antigen swabs that had been negative.
Ana Brnabic, Prime Minister from Serbia, told the BBC that if Djokovic participated in those public events with the certainty of having contracted covid it is a “clear violation of the rules.” To highlight: the maximum penalty for violating sanitary standards in Serbia is three years in prison.
From his country, where his figure configures little less than that of a mythological being, especially for having suffered the Balkan War closely, they seem to have released his hand with a drastic change. Days ago, while the player was isolated in Melbourne, the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic asked to stop “the harassment of the best tennis player in the world in the shortest time possible”, statements that generated a diplomatic crossroads with Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, who remarked that Australia “has clear border rules they are not discriminatory. “Djokovic may have to face the consequences in your own nation.
Anyway, the most urgent problem, in order to seek his tenth crown in the oceanic Grand Slam, he has with Australia, one of the strictest countries in the controls to mitigate the scope of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. The latent question is whether the Australian government, which has one last card in its hands to deport the best tennis player in the world, accept into its territory a person who is not vaccinated and that, in addition, he did not cancel events with other people even with the certainty of suffering from the virus. In a nutshell: Will they consider it a public health hazard?
Now everything was left in the hands of one man: Alex Hawke, the Minister of Migration, the arm of the government that could act to put another brake on Djokovic. The official could have summoned the Serbian during the four hours after the hearing in Victoria but opted for analyze the case in greater depth.
Hawke will have more information to make the final decision: Djokovic lied in his travel statement. The meticulous observation of the case will undoubtedly include the document that the Serbian signed to ensure that had not traveled to a country other than Serbia in the previous 14 days, a fact that is not verified with reality and that the player himself admitted that he has irregularities due to a “human error”.
The only truth is that Djokovic played tennis on December 25 in Serbia, trained on January 2 in Sotogrande, Cádiz, and departed on January 4 from Malaga to Melbourne via Dubai, according to the president of the Serbian Olympic Committee Borizadr Maljkovic. “About the travel declaration it was my team that submitted it on my behalf, as I told the Immigration officials when I arrived, and my manager apologizes for the clerical error of checking the wrong box on my previous trip to come to Australia. It was a human error and not deliberate, “the number one justified. The final decision is at stake and it only remains to know what will weigh more: the systematic errors of judgment of Djokovic or the credibility of an Australian federal government that still has in its territory to a man who broke all the rules.