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Unjabbed Djokovic is humbled Down Under

Real champions put spectators first in the pursuit of glory. Novak, however, has emerged the Djoker of the pack by riding slipshod over the rules. He almost got away with his antics until good sense prevailed and the Australian government and legal system intervened to show him the door.

By Team KT

Published: Sun 16 Jan 2022, 9:57 PM

Celebrity status, an inflated ego, and selfishness have come to define Novak Djokovic who should have avoided travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open two weeks ago. Had he done so, he would have spared tennis the daily dose of controversy when the game is struggling to recover from the long-term effects of the pandemic. Wherever he transited, the world’s leading men’s player put the public’s health at risk with his anti-vaxxer tantrums. It has finally come to head and Australia has finally packed him off after bungling its response early on. Enough is enough. Good riddance to bad behaviour from a sporting great who has lost a lot of goodwill following the maelstrom. What may have driven the Serb champion to this unsportsmanlike behaviour? Perhaps he wanted to stamp his greatness once and for all at the Open which both his main rivals have skipped for health and fitness reasons. With Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and the Serb tied at 20 Slams each, Djokovic seemed to be in a hurry and threw all health warnings out the window. He wanted to seal his place among the greats by becoming the greatest ever at the season’s opening Slam and was ready to go to any lengths to reach his goal.

He may not be allowed into Australia for three years for making a spectacle of his anti-vaxxer status and for bringing the game into disrepute. Djokovic apologised but remained unrepentant after he was caught out by journalists and the Australian legal system. High on his celebrity status, he believed his star appeal and power over advertisers would help him sail through the opening rounds of the legal fight. He played on tennis’s commercial fears. There were millions in revenues and profits to lose, and the saga even turned emotional with his supporters on one side and the Australian government on the other. Thankfully, his bluff has been called, and the sporting show can go on in Melbourne without the World No. 1’s antics.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the verdict would keep Australia’s borders strong and people-safe. The island nation has been through one of the most stringent lockdowns in the world and people have sacrificed a lot. In fact, people all over the world have endured the worst of the pandemic and are still struggling as Omicron rages. They deserve nothing better than a Quixotic celebrity’s expulsion to prove that all are equal before the law. The World number 1 will now have time to introspect and ponder about what went wrong in his quest for greatness. He could start by getting that long overdue jab before planning his next tournament appearance.

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