COVID and Djokovic cause havoc for Aussie Open organisers
Organisers of the Australian Open tennis grand slam were in the same boat as anyone watching the Federal Government v Novak Djokovic saga yesterday – just waiting for news. The hot tip was an announcement from Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on whether the tennis star would be deported over his lack of a COVID vaccination was imminent. But watched pots never boil, and an update didn’t arrive. The waiting game delayed the announcement of the tournament draw – but it eventually landed, and it includes the world #1. Another degree of difficulty was delivered to tournament organisers yesterday when the Victorian Government capped tournament crowds at 50% after a surge in COVID cases.
SO WHEN ARE WE GOING TO HEAR ABOUT DJOKOVIC?
That’s a good question, given the tournament kicks off on Monday… PM Scott Morrison was asked about it yesterday, and he says it’s a matter for Hawke to decide. While we wait for that, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews weighed in with some advice for the Serbian tennis star. “Just get vaccinated,” he said. And Greek world #4 Stefanos Tsitsipas has accused Djokovic of “playing by his own rules”. He was hesitant about vaccination but got his shots to travel here for the Open. “No one really thought they could come to Australia unvaccinated and not having to follow the protocols… It takes a lot of daring to do and putting the grand slam at risk, which I don’t think many players would do,” he said.
SO IF DJOKOVIC RETAINS HIS VISA, IS HE IN THE CLEAR?
Yeah nah… His Insta post this week has put the cat amongst the pigeons back in Europe. He’s now facing an investigation by the Spanish Government after it was revealed he was there without a vaccination certificate or exemption. The International Tennis Writers Association is also going him for failing to inform staff at French sports newspaper L’Equipe he was COVID-positive when he sat down for an interview with them. And last but not least, lawyers in Serbia say his breach of the country’s strict isolation laws was a criminal offence, which could see Djokovic having to pay a fine – but more likely undertake community service. When you’re hot, you’re hot…
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