I don’t follow professional tennis as much as I used to. But I do have a reasonable idea of the top stars in the sport. Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, you know, enough to at least have some semblance of who are the big names in the competition.
And I know of Novak Djokovic. He’s won several championships, with the possibility of the Australian Open in 2022 providing him an opportunity to complete a personal Grand Slam. I get it. I do.
That, and I also remember him as doing a cameo in a Top 40 dance track from about 10 years ago, Martin Solveig’s “Hello.” Still a great jam, if you ask me.
But here’s where I have a major problem with Djokovic.
He is an anti-vaxxer. He has flaunted vaccine requirements. And he’s currently trying to get into the Australian Open while claiming a medical exemption against vaccination, even to the point where he provided false COVID-19 test results to enter the country.
And even after all that … there’s still a possibility that Djokovic could play in the Australian Open. Even after all that. Heck, the Australian Open even set up their brackets, and Djokovic is in the brackets – despite there still being a question of his eligibility to play, or even to set foot in Rod Laver Arena after all of this.
Make no mistake. Novak Djokovic lied his ass off in a “play at all costs” to enter the tournament. Even to the level where two Australian newscasters, both caught on hit mics, clearly made their feelings known about the Serbian tennis star.
Now, there’s still some behind-the-scenes negotiations as to whether Djokovic knowingly submitted false paperwork, or if there was some sort of mistake on the paperwork that he could claim as an inadvertent error, to try to create some sort of plausible excuse to not be part of the tournament.
Which either means that Novak Djokovic is a complete dimbulb when he fills out his paperwork, or he trusted his paperwork to handlers who wouldn’t know a serve from a volley.
And does Djokovic even understand which country is hosting the Australian Open? It’s Australia. One of the few countries that was able to hold back COVID-19 with strong public awareness, vaccinations, and community / government mitigation. This is a country whose ecosystem is extremely fragile already; to the point where, when Australia hosted the 1956 Olympics, the equestrian events were contested in Sweden to prevent any equine disease from imported horses to infect the native species.
But yeah, Novak Djokovic is a tennis star. And by that, it apparently supersedes such things as vaccine mandates and protection against the spread of COVID-19.
Yeah, it’s not like Novak Djokovic did something totally horrendous and shameful in the world of tennis. It’s not like he decorated his hair with beads. It’s not like he grunts every time he strikes the ball. It’s not like he discusses his mental health concerns at the press table, or even if he decides he doesn’t want to talk to the press table. It’s not like he dared to wear a form-fitting catsuit in an opening round match. It’s not like he didn’t smile after losing a match on a controversial call. I mean, the differences between that and what Djokovic did are as different as black and white. And yes, I went there.
But honestly, what Novak Djokovic is doing is the same thing Aaron Rodgers is doing, it’s the same thing Kyrie Irving is doing, it’s the same song with a different sport. Let public safety be damned, I’m going for wins, and if you don’t like it, tough on you.
I’ll say this, though. If the organizers of the Australian Open allow Djokovic to take the court in this tournament, after all of this …
Then I don’t ever want them harping on Naomi Osaka for refusing to parrot responses to the same seven questions at every press conference immediately after she finished up a semifinal win over Sloane Stephens.
So yeah, for all intents and purposes, Novak Djokovic is a COV-idiot. And yeah, I said it. Not only did he have COVID, but he tried to hide his positive test results for the sake of entering a country and playing a tournament.
Or to put this in clearer terms … He lied on his entry forms to get into Australia to play the Open.
But I guess it’s all good in the end, if you can hit a tennis ball.
So there’s that.