Novak Djokovic was unable to enter Australia Wednesday night after the visa that would allow him entrance to play in the Australian Open was denied.
Since Wednesday, he has been detained in a hotel in Carlton, Australia while his lawyers combat the government’s rejection of his visa, which was denied over the Serbian not providing sufficient proof for the reasons why he has an exemption from getting vaccinated.
Per Paul Sakkal of the Melbourne newspaper The Age, border officials had questions:
“…about whether Djokovic had adequate documentation to prove the reason for his exemption," Sakkal wrote. "This evidence is required to be presented at the border by unvaccinated people. The source said it was not clear whether a COVID-19 infection in the past six months -- which is suspected to be the justification for the player's exemption -- was sufficient to secure entry into Australia under federal guidelines."
While we all know that whether an athlete competes in a tournament should not be determined by his vaccination status, this is the unfortunate state of events in the world.
But that is not stopping other tennis players from relishing Djokovic’s misfortune. The number six tennis player and Djokovic rival Rafael Nadal showed little sympathy for Djokovic ahead of his appeal on Monday:
“I think if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem,” the Spaniard said on Thursday. “He made his own decisions, and everybody is free to make their own decisions. But then there are some consequences.”
While Nadal showed some sympathy to his fellow tennis star, one can not overlook the sarcasm spread throughout Nadal’s comments. And while in some ways he is right (Djokovic knew this could be a possibility for taking the stance he did), it is also disappointing that Nadal thinks that everyone in tennis just needs to blindly shut up and follow whatever is idiotic vaccine mandates governments enforce. After all, does it really make sense that athletes should be forced to be vaccinated if they do not want to, and be denied the chance to perform if they do not?
Hopefully, more tennis players will observe Djokovic's situation and start to see the bigger picture of what many national authorities are trying to do to those who will not blindly follow them like sheep. Once that happens, more eyes will be opened and people will be less afraid to stand up to tyrants.