Money Talks, Djokovic Walks?

Money Talks, Djokovic Walks?
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Novak Djokovic has been denied entry to Australia after an extraordinary mix-up with his visa application. It seems his team requested a sub-class of visa that does not apply to those with a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine. This news comes in the midst of a furious backlash from tennis fans around the world who are angry that the organisers of the Australian Open were allowing him to compete. 


It has been reported that Novak Djokovic will play in the Australian Open even though he is unvaccinated. The wealthy tennis player has received an exemption on ‘medical’ grounds.


The news has garnered extreme reactions from both fronts. The unvaccinated are hailing Djokovic for standing up to governments and regulatory bodies and maintaining his stance on NOT getting the COVID-19 vaccine. On the other hand, tennis fans and those who support medical science are angry and frustrated and believe Djokovic is getting special treatment because of his status.


If all players and staff at the Australian Open must be vaccinated, why is Djokovic getting away with it? His so-called exemption might have been believable if Djokovic had not been so vocal about his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccination since the very beginning. So is his medical exemption even genuine, a lot of fans wonder?


Australia is a country where 90% of the population over the age of 16 is vaccinated. The region has seen a surge of COVID-19 cases since the Omicron wave started. Australia is also known for imposing some of the world’s strictest restrictions during the pandemic. With all these facts in mind, why would the organisers of the Australian Open allow a player, who has been extremely vocal about not getting the vaccine, to participate?


Can Djokovic get away with this just because he is rich and famous? Or is he being allowed to participate because the sponsors would back out? Isn’t it unfair to other players and staff at the Australian Open who have done the right thing and have received vaccines and boosters? Why should some hotshot from another country come into Australia because he has a medical exemption? Would a tennis player with a lower ranking get such an exemption this easily? These and many other questions are being asked by tennis fans around the world.


People are also questioning the grounds for this exemption. Djokovic is physically fit. He is a successful tennis player who has won many tournaments. So what’s the real issue? He has made no secret of his opposition to vaccination and has clearly stated that he wouldn’t want to be forced to take a vaccine. What kind of message are the organisers of the Australian Open giving to people - that if you can get away with it, do it?


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tried to calm the waters and has assured fans that if Djokovic’s medical evidence is insufficient, he will be sent home. But will this really happen? Let’s see how this unfolds. The Australian Open begins January 17.

Image Credit: iStock 

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Published on : Wed, 5 Jan 2022

COVID-19, Unvaccinated, Australian Open, Novak Djokovic Money Talks, Djokovic Walks?

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