Novak Djokovic, the world’s #1 ranked men’s tennis player, will defend his 2021 Australian Open title this year, being allowed into the country despite being jab-free.
Djokovic announced on Instagram:
Happy New Year, everybody! Wishing you all health, love, and happiness in every present moment and may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet. ❤️🙏🏼
I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022 !! 💪🏼
Australia, which during the COVID panicdemic has brutally enforced draconian measures to restrict personal freedom … er, slow the spread, apparently discovered medical enlightenment allowing Djokovic entry into the country.
“Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts,” the statement said.
“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health. They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation guidelines.”
Translation: We’d like to sell some tickets.
Djokovic’s entry into the tournament reverses the organizer’s original stance, made clear this past November.
(Australian Open chief Craig) Tiley said the no-vaccine, no-play edict was made by the Victorian state government in late October.
“It’s been made very clear, when the premier (Daniel Andrews) announced several weeks ago that in order to participate at the Australian Open, to come into Victoria, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated,” Tiley said earlier on a morning television programme. “Immediately we communicated that to the playing group, it is the one direction that you take that is going to ensure everyone’s safety.”
The news of Djokovic’s permitted entry into Australia will hopefully raise more than a few Aussie eyebrows, given how the country has ruthlessly punished its own people with forced child vaccinations; forced geolocation and facial recognition software on personal devices; violent assaults on its citizens. Unjabbed tennis star wants to swing by for a few weeks? No problem! Hey — WHAT hypocrisy?!!
The Australian Open is already down on star power, with Venus and Serena Williams, plus Roger Federer, skipping the tournament. It’s understandable why officials were desperate to make sure Djokovic was welcome, although at least one player is less than amused at Djokovic’s presence.
British doubles specialist Jamie Murray — brother of two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray — has questioned the exemption for Djokovic.
“I think if it was me that wasn’t vaccinated, I wouldn’t be getting an exemption,” Jamie Murray said in The Daily Telegraph.
Surprisingly, at least some in Australian media have correctly diagnosed the situation.
But for all Victoria’s hyper-vigilance, its test results suggest as many as one in four in the state are carrying the virus: not exactly a convincing advert for the power of vaccine mandates. How will Djokovic be making the situation any worse than it is already? Yes, his presence in Melbourne will be wildly controversial, a source of antagonism for weeks to come. But that alone does not make it wrong.
If nothing else, it’ll give tennis fans something to discuss in between checking their “When Will Naomi Osaka Have Her Meltdown” bingo cards.