If you ever find yourself in a ditch, the first thing you should do is put down your digger. Novak Djokovic and his family’s handling of the world No 1’s face-off with the Australian government appears totally at variance with this truism.
The imbroglio that is currently going on in Australia is bigger than Djokovic. It is true he has a title to defend at the Australian Open, an ambition of a 21st Grand Slam and potentially becoming the Greatest Of All Time. But he is also an anti-vaxxer – a position he has quietly observed up to now. But being the best in the world of tennis and quietly going against vaccination in a pandemic-ravaged world are mutually exclusive.
Now knowing this stand, anti-vaxxers around the world have been waiting for Djokovic who had refused to declare his vaccination status for months building up to the Australian Open, to make the move into Australia – the world headquarters of lockdowns – and see if the Australian government would refuse him entry. It happened.
Then suddenly, Djokovic who in 2021 organised a superspreader event – Serbia Open, became the poster boy for Anti-vaccination. Anti-Vaxxers would then seize the moment to escalate the situation by citing the persecution in the hands of the Australian authorities, of their messiah who dares to speak up against vaccination. The whole court process was expedited and in the end, Djokovic had a good day. Victoria acerta – or was it?
But even before his freedom was declared, the information had emerged that while Mr. Djokovic presented to have contacted covid on the 16th of December 2021, he was seen out that same evening, he was seen receiving an award and interacting with children on the 17th and attended a newspaper interview and photoshoot on the 18th.
He denied knowing he had covid on the first two occasions but admitted the photoshoot was an error of judgment. Put that down to overwhelming pressure on the Tennis Star and a Public Figure by a star-struck newspaper.
But in his privacy, not much appears different. In his visa forms, Djokovic lied about not travelling to other destinations before arriving in Australia. He blames it on an administrative error. Regardless, he had been to Spain which forbids unvaccinated travellers. How he managed to pull this off is now being investigated by the Spanish authorities unbeknownst to whom until now that Djokovic somehow, had broken their quarantine rules.
How will this end?
A whirlwind of woes is encircling the 20-time grand slam champion. And now that it’s emerged he’s lied and willfully covered up vital information to get through the Spanish and Aussie immigration controls, break extant Covid-19 rules, and also slithered through the Aussie courts, his social media apology messages have just begun. They will have to run a long haul. Yet he will have a lot of reactions on social media, but when this push comes to shove, he will be the one – THE ONLY ONE – to face the consequence.
I doubt he’s able to wriggle out of this situation, again. Put away his case with the Spanish immigration as a postponed doomsday, at least for now, even if he gets a miraculous pardon in Australia (which I doubt) and he is able to defend his title at the Summer Down Under (which I doubt), he will have succeeded more at proving the majority of tennis fans right who think he’s a slimy, dodgy actor who cares about nothing but himself than he will ever succeed at being the tennis greatest of all time. That’s for sure!
Ayoola Adeyanju is a UK-based visual artist and communications consultant at Popag8 UK. He is also the founder of MyPersonalTouch and Artherapy Northwest.