Formal inquiry on the way?
When history looks back upon the 2019 – Covid years, tennis star Novak Djokovic’s attempt to play in Melbourne will be a defining chapter.
The Serbian flew to Australia, well over a week ago, after the country’s tennis association promised him a waver as he is unvaccinated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison saw this as an affront to his constituents being locked into their homes early and often so denied the visa. Djokovic’s team fought back, telling a judge that he did not have to be vaccinated since he had recently had the disease. The judge agreed and his visa was given back until today when Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, ripped it up again and detained Djokovic in a cell ahead of a hearing that will likely see him forcibly evicted.
According to The Guardian, “The Djokovic visa snub was released in time for the main TV news bulletins on Friday and, they had hoped, late enough to limit the tennis champ’s lawyers chances of getting a judge to re-hear his case. While that hope proved unfounded, the government believes a court could only examine the probity of immigration minister Alex Hawke’s use of his power to withdraw a visa, not whether Djokovic deserved to be punted. However, the damage to Australian tourism and Australian sport caused by a single, stubborn tennis player and a hesitant federal government could require a formal inquiry to sort out.”
Even more damage has been done, though, to Kelly Slater’s 12th World Title campaign.
The world’s greatest surfer, too, has been vocal about his vaccine skepticism. With Djokovic re-receiving capital punishment, and possibly unable to re-enter Australia for three years, it is highly unlikely that Slater will be able to compete in the Australian leg of the Championship Tour this April.
And while, theoretically, he could use those as his throw aways, it will not make his pathway to glory any easier.
12 fading before our very eyes.