Finally, at long last, after weeks of suffering at the hands of THe AuTHoriTIEs, tennis star Novak Djokovic has been given leave to speak his mind! And as it turns out, as he detailed in an interview with BCC News, Novak is NOT an anti-vaxxer, despite it being so tantalizingly right there in his name. Nope. He didn’t risk being unable to use his phone for several hours during the “very, very hard” time he spent in detention after arriving in Melbourne to play in the Australian Open last month which ultimately led to his deportation. Novak says he “should not be associated with the anti-vax movement,” rather he refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19 “because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else,” which presumably also includes children, the elderly, and anybody else who is particularly vulnerable to the disease. So no, he’s not a loser. He’s a Goddamn hero. A hero who is willing to sacrifice Wimbledon, The French Open, and any unvaccinated rugrats who get in his way.
Novak says he’s waited this long to speak to the media about last month’s detention and deportation because he “wanted to respect the legal process and the Australian Open.” Only he actually did speak out when it was discovered his hard-earned respect didn’t extend to the French photographer who took his picture for a photo shoot he did with L’Equipe magazine knowing full well he had tested positive for COVID-19 two days prior. That, he said, was “an error in judgment.” His continued refusal to get vaccinated is deliberate. According to BBC:
Speaking exclusively to the BBC, he said missing competitions, such as the French Open, over his jab status was “the price that I’m willing to pay”.
He said he had not spoken out in the media at the time – despite wanting to – as he wanted to respect the legal process and the Australian Open.
The world’s number one men’s tennis player also said he should not be associated with the anti-vax movement, but supported an individual’s right to choose.
Due to the positive test result that he shared with L’Equipe in the days before traveling to Australia, Novak was able to obtain a medical exemption which would have allowed him entry into the country. However, as we know, his visa was revoked, reinstated, and ultimately revoked again once his exemption form was found to contain errors.
His medical exemption request was made anonymously, and it was accepted by two independent Australian panels. However there was a separate travel declaration, which included an error.
“Absolutely, the visa declaration error was not deliberately made,” Djokovic said. “It was accepted and confirmed by the Federal Court and the minister himself in the Ministry for Immigration in Australia.
“So actually, what people probably don’t know is that I was not deported from Australia on the basis that I was not vaccinated, or I broke any rules or that I made an error in my visa declaration. All of that was actually approved and validated by the Federal Court of Australia and the Minister for Immigration.
“The reason why I was deported from Australia was because the Minister for Immigration used his discretion to cancel my visa based on his perception that I might create some anti-vax sentiment in the country or in the city, which I completely disagree with.”
Stares in Ontario Truck Strike. As for the appalling treatment he received while in the hands of the Australian government, I guess he didn’t like the food too much because he said it was “tough.” And while it’s true, Vegemite is an acquired taste, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, on a scale from mid-range Hilton property to Guantanamo Bay, it doesn’t even rate.
“It was very, very hard. While I was still at the airport, I couldn’t use my phone for three, four hours. I was lost, really, I didn’t know what was happening.”
He said he initially could not get in touch with his family but was later allowed to access his phone when he was inside the detention centre.
Plus people were giving him the hairy eyeball when he was let out to practice.
While awaiting his first court hearing, Djokovic was free to train. “But it was not the regular kind of training days that I would normally have prior to the Grand Slam competition,” he said.
“I had helicopters flying above every single training session that I had on Rod Laver Arena, cameras all over the place. Also, I felt that energy and that those looks from from my colleagues and people that were in the tennis facility… that really hurt me a lot.
So, unlike all those science-denying anti-vaxxers, Novak is actually still “keeping [his] mind open” about the possibility of being vaccinated in the future, “because we are all trying to find collectively, a best possible solution to end Covid,” he just “doesn’t have enough information about ‘the vaccine’” yet. He’s just a “deeply committed libertarian who believes strongly in individual autonomy.” And instead of participating in the upcoming Grand Slams that could cement his title as the Greatest Male Tennis Player of All Time, he will be next competing at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships “which begin next week, where entrants do not need to be vaccinated.” What’s a Wimbledon trophy really worth anyway when you could raise a giant Toblerone from the Duty-Free over your head in victory?
Pic: Franz Waelischmiller/DDP/INSTARimages.com