Novak Djokovic continues to dominate the headlines in sport and beyond, as his quest to feature at the Australian Open encompasses the courts, government figures, leading faces from within tennis and, presumably, science.
The world No1 has had his visa to enter the country revoked once more, just days after winning his initial appeal and starting to practice out on the court.
Djokovic’s team of lawyers have labelled the decision as “patently irrational” and submitted an injunction to block him being deported from the country, also calling for a quick hearing to sort the saga once and for all.
Another legal bid to overturn the decision for good is to be taken, according to Karen Sweeney, court reporter for AAP – leading others to speculate what might be factored into any new appeal and subsequent decision.
If he overturns another decision and plays, James Gray at the i newspaper noted he would have very little preparation time before playing competitively – while the grounds for the decision taken by Australian officials is also being questioned, given rising Covid numbers. One day prior to Djokovic’s visa being cancelled, Australia recorded a record number – over 147,000 new positive cases, per Reuters.
However, it’s clear plenty have little sympathy for Djokovic and his behaviour, given how he has reacted previously to others in the sport not going with the flow. On a related note, it’s striking to some how his actions have been treated in some quarters, in comparison to those who are not – to be blunt – white men.
The conversation is already turning to the question of what’s next? Of course, Djokovic has a relatively easy route out of these issues in future, though it’s one he appears set against – and as it stands, this effectively means the end of his hopes of winning any more Australian Open titles.
And finally, it’s not just Djokovic who continues to be criticised, with the Australian government and the policies being acted on also being under heavy scrutiny from journalists throughout the country.
Andy Murray, meanwhile, opted not to “kick Novak while he’s down” while reiterating that it wasn’t a good look or situation for any of the parties involved, not excluding the ATP from that.
In addition, Spanish officials have denied there is any investigation underway regarding Djokovic’s alleged Covid breach, entering the country days after testing positive.
The weekend will seemingly determine exactly whether Djokovic, the top seed at the event currently drawn to play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round, actually partakes at the Australian Open.