Mendoza: No vaccine Novak in dire times

·2 min read

Novak Djokovic is facing match point. Elimination. He is fighting back. He is dodging a bullet. All because he allowed two shots to glide by him.

What two shots again?

Jabs of vaccine for Covid-19 protection.

Had he had them before leaving Serbia for Australia last week, he wouldn’t be where he is now—in a facility center in Melbourne reserved for asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants.

Does Djokovic deserve to be there?

With all the wealth he has accumulated playing tennis, who would have thought it would come to this?

His request for transfer to a hotel with a tennis court has been denied. So with a chef exclusively for him.

Life is unfair? Or Djokovic has simply been thrown back to reality. You can’t win them all.

But there’s more to this unfolding drama than meets the eye.

As I write this, Djokovic, the world’s No. 1, has his lawyers in a Melbourne court contesting the revocation of his visa last week.

Should he lose, he will not only miss the chance to defend his Australian Open crown he has won nine times. He will also be denied winning a record 21st Grand Slam and becoming, statistically, the sport’s greatest of all time.

In revoking his visa and denying entry into Australia, officials said: “There is no such thing as an assurance of entry by a non-citizen into Australia. Rather, there are criteria and conditions for entry, and reasons for refusal or cancellation of a visa.”

Here’s another proof that a visa is not a right but a mere privilege. Meaning, unlike a right, a visa can be revoked anytime by the country issuing it.

Djokovic’s claim he got a medical exemption to enter Australia because he had Covid-19 last December was challenged by Australia.

“There is no suggestion that the applicant had ‘acute major medical illness’ in December 2021. All he has said is that he tested positive for Covid-19. This is not the same,” officials said.

Australia says its health department told tournament officials of Tennis Australia in November that a recent Covid-19 infection was not necessarily grounds for exemption.

Djokovic has been a vocal opponent of vaccine mandates.

That’s his right. But when it runs counter to a country’s protocol, it’d be an entirely different matter.

And even if he wins his case in court, which I doubt it, will Djokovic have enough focus to play well in the Aussie Open that starts Jan. 17—and nail his 10th Australian Open trophy?

I doubt that, too.

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