Novak Djokovic’s border issue has inspired endless pieces of thought on the interrelationship between sports and politics.
It has become an all-encompassing story covering uniquely Australian hits: border law, mandatory detention, vaccination controversy, political opportunism and slow internet. But at the heart of it is a game loved by millions around the world, with even the biggest players being its most divisive.
Djokovic is not ashamed of his record-breaking passion. He has followed history and reached the record-breaking 20 Grand Slams in the shortest time and in the most competitive era of men’s tennis.
If winning is all that matters, why does he risk losing the chance to secure the most important position in the sport at his most successful Grand Slam? Because the same stubbornness that allowed him to achieve these heights is also his undo. And this time, he has pushed his fate so far that he is facing deportation and possible sanctions from Australia.
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Although not certain, Djokovic risked reaching out to people with legitimate health concerns without medical vaccinations without vaccinations. He contracted COVID in time to fly to Australia to compete easily, but before participating in events and – according to social media accounts – before traveling during the transition period. It was revealed yesterday that he had lied about the trip on his border entry form to seal the deal.
For Australia’s strict border rules, this is the only way to explain the blaze approach he carries for himself. His father likened his custody to the cross of Jesus. He has an inherent and unshakable self-confidence that he can go to the world if he wants to with little results. This is confirmed by her approach to COVID, including hosting super-spreader “Adria Tour” at the height of the epidemic.
His sharp stubbornness is known on the court for producing incredible speed changes that make it impossible for him to count out of the game until the last point is played. The same attitude informs him of his decision outside the court: he has a strong belief that there is always a way to victory.
It turns out, he was pretty much right in assuming his God-like position allows him to go to Australia. The use of discretionary power in such a high-profile case would lead the Australian government to an international inquiry, which would make it impossible for him to use deportation powers. It was confirmed by MP John Alexander, a former tennis pro, when he slammed the government, saying the decisions “really had nothing to do” and that “the person processing Novak probably made a mistake late into the night”. .
The king of Melbourne Park removed the throne
But while his generosity and high status could lead him to the Australian Open, Djokovic is far more at stake this time around than his predecessors.
Not only has he jeopardized his ability to play in the first Grand Slam of the year, but he has threatened the already weak support of the Down Under. After winning his ninth Australian Open to expand his record in 2021, the nickname “King of Melbourne Park” was thrown around to reflect Rafael Nadal’s “King of the Soil”. But with Nadal’s unprecedented dominance at the French Open acknowledged with the statue unveiled earlier this year, it’s hard to imagine Melbourne accepting any such praise for his most successful male opponent at the Australian Open.
No matter what he achieves, Djokovic’s stubbornness at every turn or the highway at every turn has ensured that his legacy will be disputed. Even if he Undisputed GOAT, His out-of-court (and sometimes in-court) behavior has irrevocably tarnished his legacy.
Djokovic’s relationship with the Melbourne crowd has always been complicated, but it is usually seen as a formidable honor for his dominance in court as he wins another title. But in 2022 – after only 24 months of the communal approach to vaccination – Melbourne will not be kind to him if / when he goes to court. He is not without passionate supporters, of course, but widespread booing is expected.
This will not stop him from winning. Uniquely like Djokovic, a friendless mob will motivate him to dig deeper. But in the bigger picture, Djokovic cares about crowd support, as evidenced by the tears he shed on the court during last year’s US Open final when he struggled to cope with the pressure of opportunity in a rare moment of full crowd support.
When all is said and done, there is no doubt that it will upset him that the audience will shoot him for failing more than ever. Djokovic’s place in the history of the Australian Open will always be marked with an asterisk after he managed to turn the crowd around in his most successful slam against him * but he was an archetype who could not do the right thing.
This is the result of his refusal to do what many people around the world did during the epidemic. And with all that at stake, it’s hard to see how his bull-headness will win him over this time around.
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