Game, set and match Australia.
Not that anyone should have been surprised.
Novak Djokovic vs. Scott Morrison’s reign would always be a walk-over for the home side from the moment the Serb set foot in the country.
On one side of the court you had an arrogant, entitled, multi-millionaire anti-vaxxer who claimed to have filed customs forms with incorrect information when he landed in Melbourne.
On the other hand, serving with new balls was a Liberal Party Prime Minister who has been humiliated by Labor Party Prime Ministers over border controls for the past two years.
When given a golden opportunity in an election year to show that he is still in charge of who comes into this country, there was no question of the prime minister dropping the ball.
It wasn’t a pretty win by any means, and by the time Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke crushed the race winner, Mr Morrison looked more like he’d been 12 rounds with Tyson Fury than he was enjoying a bit of a hit and giggle.
Novak Djokovic’s dreams of winning a 10th Australian Open appear to be shattered after his visa was canceled for the second time on Friday
Melbourne TV presenters Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor spoke to many Australian residents earlier this week when they said in leaked footage the anti-vaxx, multimillionaire should be expelled from Serbia and denied the right to play in the Australian Open.
As opposition leader Anthony Albanese said when he tried to rain the Prime Minister’s parade: “It should never have come to this. The Morrison government always reacts too little, too late. It never sees a lurking problem and does not act before a problem becomes a crisis.”
Looking at the unraveling of the whole Djokovic debacle, it’s hard to disagree completely with Mr Albanese, but all the stones that will be thrown at the federal government for its part in the affair are nothing compared to the avalanche sure is headed Tennis Australia’s way.
The people who run the game in this country are getting a reprieve until the end of the Australian Open, but in the meantime there would have to be a lot of people high up in that organization to get their resumes in order.
If they ever start a college course called Event Mismanagement 101, a paper on the planning, implementation and conduct of this year’s Australian Open should be required reading.
The whole thing was a complete fiasco from start to finish, with Djokovic playing the part of the villain to perfection.
Of course he has his supporters. There’s the Serbian Prime Minister, for example, and so are Novak’s mother and father, not to mention all those people waving flags and banners outside the hotel where he was being held.
The ugly saga was an opportunity for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to show everyone who runs Australia – with Djokovic the cheat given he is unvaccinated
A timeline showing the contrasting fortunes Novak Djokovic has endured since arriving in Australia on January 5
But seriously, look at the facts. He entered this country with documents containing false information.
He blamed his team for making a ‘mistake’ about where he had been before entering Australia. He deliberately exposed a French journalist to Covid without any warning.
He has defied Covid restrictions in other countries in the past – and saw his fellow professionals contract the virus as a result.
Is this really someone we want to come to our country now?
For the most part over the past two years Australians have followed the rules put in place by our leaders to control the onset of Covid in this country.
As a result, some have missed the opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones who have died alone.
They were unable to attend funerals or comfort and support sick relatives in hospital. They have been denied entry to their own home state, their wedding ceremony has been canceled and their businesses have gone bankrupt.
Novak Djokovic, 34, can appeal the decision through his lawyers on legal grounds – meaning he could still be present at Melbourne Park on Monday
And those same Australians are expected to welcome someone to the country who flaunts those rules just because he can hit a tennis ball better than anyone else?
Hardly. It seems to me that there are only two people who have come out of this mess with an improved reputation, and they are Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor, those newscasters in Melbourne.
In a swirling fog of half-truths, subterfuge, duplicity and outright lies, they were the only ones who spoke the truth – saying what 99 percent of Australians thought.
As Maddern said, ‘any way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky bastard’.
And Amor was perfect when he said ‘Djokovic gave a bulls**t excuse and then fell over his own damn lies’.
On the spot.
Can we please continue playing tennis now? – starting with our own Australian hope, Ash Barty, the world number one.
Key moments in Novak Djokovic .’s Australian Open bid
By Karen Sweeney in Melbourne for Australian Associated Press
Tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic is still focused on defending his Australian Open title and winning a record-breaking 21st men’s grand slam tournament, but the road to Melbourne is bumpy and the path is not yet clear.
October November – Djokovic applies for a temporary visa to enter Australia and participate in the 2022 Australian Open.
Nov 18 – Granted a temporary activity (subclass 408) visa.
Dec 14 – Attends a basketball game in Belgrade, Serbia, where participants contract COVID-19.
Dec 16 – Djokovic has been ‘tested and diagnosed’ with COVID-19. Documents show that he was tested at 1:05 p.m. and the result was returned at 8:19 p.m.
December 17 – Attends events in Belgrade, including a trophy presentation for junior tennis players. In the photo without wearing a mask and posing side by side indoors with a large group of children.
Dec 18 – Djokovic says he heard about the positive test and canceled several scheduled events. Continues with an interview and photo shoot with the French newspaper L’Equipe, in which he says he feels ‘obliged’ because ‘I didn’t want to let the journalist down’.
Dec 22 – Returns a negative PCR test.
25th of December – Filmed by a fan playing tennis on a street in Belgrade. He is also photographed together with Serbian handball player Petar Djordjic.
Dec 30 – Tennis Australia informs Djokovic that he has been granted a temporary medical exemption allowing him to play the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. The waiver was granted on the basis of a previous infection, based on the judgment of a panel of medical experts and reviewed by another.
December 31 – Filmed training at a tennis academy in Sotogrande, Spain. The academy posts photos on its Instagram of him posing for photos with fans a day later.
January 1st – Authorizes his agent to complete his Australian travel statement. According to the document, Djokovic had not traveled for 14 days prior to his planned arrival in Australia. Later admits that the form contained an error by failing to confirm his travel between Serbia and Spain. Djokovic said his agent was informed by the Interior Ministry that the report had been reviewed and that he met the requirements for a quarantine-free arrival.
January 2nd – A border travel permit issued by the Victorian Government.
January 4 – Announces on Instagram that he is ‘going to Down Under with exemption’. The post was made shortly before leaving for Melbourne via Dubai. News of his imminent arrival has sparked controversy in Australia.
January 5th – Arrival in Melbourne at 11:30 PM.
6 January – Australian Border Force officials detain Djokovic. After a series of early morning interviews, his visa is canceled at 7:29 AM. His lawyers receive a temporary injunction from the Federal Circuit Court. Djokovic is taken to the Park Hotel, which is being used as an aliens detention center.
January 7 – Spends Orthodox Christmas in his hotel room.
January 10 – After a lengthy hearing, a judge overturns the government’s decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa after lawyers admitted the decision was unreasonable under the circumstances. Judge Anthony Kelly orders Djokovic to be paid his charges and released from immigration detention. Government lawyers note that immigration minister Alex Hawke still has personal authority to revoke Djokovic’s visa.
January 11 – Djokovic posts a photo of himself training at the Rod Laver Arena. “Despite everything that has happened in the past week, I want to stay and try to compete in the Australian Open,” he says. His Australian travel statement is being questioned after documents released by the court reveal that he answered ‘no’ to the question about travel in the 14 days before his arrival.
January 12 – Posts a statement on Instagram to correct ‘constant misinformation’. He admits that he knowingly continues with the L’Equipe interview while positive for Covid-19. He also apologizes for the ‘administrative error’ on the travel declaration. Mr Hawke’s office says it is still considering using his power to revoke Djokovic’s visa.
January 13 – The Australian Open draw has been postponed pending news of Djokovic’s visa. When the draw finally takes place at 4.15 am, he will be drawn against compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic
January 14 – Djokovic’s visa is canceled for a second time, with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke declaring the decision was made in the ‘interest of public safety’