There was a time when the Australian Open was called the “Happy Slam”. Tournament director Craig Tiley ascribes the name to the Swiss Roger Federer, who bundled all the beautiful sides of the first Grand Slam of the season in the term. Most tennis professionals come from winter, after a break full of energy, in anticipation of the sun and nice Melburnians. At that time, the days before the tournament started looked like well-known professionals held up Australian animals that weren’t in the bush with three. Since then, we have known creatures like the quokka, the star among all the kangaroos, koalas and wombats. Then came the pandemic, and last year many things were no longer the same as they used to be, so this year a new era has begun. “Forget the Happy Slam” was the headline of the British recently Telegraph, “this Australian Open could be the most toxic tournament ever.” If the weather weren’t so wonderful in the south-east of the continent at the moment, one would have to say: the air is thick, like the devastating forest fires two years ago.
Novak Djokovic, 34, is the man around whom everything revolves, and apart from the fact that it was not clear on Thursday whether the world number one was allowed to keep his visa or not, it is amazing how a person politics, media, the public, Can drive fans so crazy. The origin of the listed drama can be found in the mighty Tiley, “players first” is his motto. He does everything for her. The loophole of being able to enter the country as an unvaccinated person, although vaccination is compulsory, Tiley – one may assume – was happy to convey to Djokovic. In a strange way, Djokovic was actually infected with Corona and believed that he would meet the requirement – an infection in the past six months – and thus be able to enter. The rest is known. Djokovic lost his visa after landing, received it back by a judge’s order and is now on the facility to train.
Prime Minister Morrison remains: Foreigners must be vaccinated or prove that they cannot be vaccinated
How much the showdown atmosphere is currently prevailing became clear on Thursday, the eighth day of this case. The draw was scheduled for 3 p.m. local time, but was postponed when it was supposed to start. News had surfaced that Prime Minister Scott Morrison would give a press conference at 3:45 p.m. Would he raise or lower his thumb over Djokovic’s whereabouts? Apparently Tiley wanted to wait for the top political decision maker.
But Morrison did not say anything specific, such as creating the impression that he did not want to be the one to convey the eagerly awaited verdict to the world public. He referred to Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, 44. He has to regulate it and has the power to do it. Only one point remained specific: Foreigners who enter the country have to “show that they have been vaccinated twice” or prove that they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons – “this policy has not changed”. That would clearly indicate that Djokovic would have to leave Australia.
The delay had no consequences for the draw, it took place from 6.15 p.m. With Djokovic in the tableau. The Serb is supposed to play against his compatriot Miomir Kecmanonic in the first round, Alexander Zverev meets Daniel Altmaier (Kempen), Angelique Kerber against Kaia Kanepi (Estonia).
Djokovic is massively criticized because it is now known that he has been guilty of a lot. He had not isolated himself after his infection, met children, gave an interview to a reporter knowing he was positive, did not follow the Serbian requirement to be in quarantine for 14 days, incorrectly stated on the Australian travel form, not before departure to have traveled. He had meanwhile trained in Marbella. A statement on Instagram on Wednesday, in which Djokovic basically only lamented, made his situation worse.
Resentment can also be heard increasingly in gaming circles. After Hungarian Marton Fucsovics (“don’t think he has a right to be here”) and Portuguese João Sousa (“He’s a bit selfish to come here as the only unvaccinated player”) expressed their annoyance, the world rankings put in place -Fourth Stefanos Tsitsipas after. “We all obeyed the rules to come to Australia and take part in the tournament. And we behaved very disciplined”, the Greek told the Indian broadcaster WION: “A very small minority has decided to go their own way That kind of makes the majority look like idiots. ” Djokovic plays “according to his own rules”.
Immigration Secretary Alex Hawke is apparently in no hurry
For Djokovic, such criticism is likely to be the slightest problem at the moment. For him, but also for the government, there is a race against time. Djokovic wants to play the Australian Open at all costs. He could stand out with the 21st Grand Slam title from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Hawke, it seems, is in no hurry. This Friday at the earliest, the newspaper reported The Agehe decide. The fact that the Australian newspaper received the information from the Djokovic camp that Djokovic wanted to take action against it immediately in the event of a second visa veto (in order to then go through the court proceedings by Sunday) can be seen as a threatening backdrop – and it fits the picture that Djokovic in this one Affair gives up. He allegedly sees himself as a victim. The authenticity of his positive test is also controversial. So much seems lazy.
Djokovic, who will probably play his first round match on Tuesday, possibly in the evening, could be catapulted out of the event and country by Hawke even after the tournament has started. If he (had to) quit before the tournament starts on Monday, Russian world number five Andrei Rublev would take his place. From the moment the game is played, he would be replaced by a lucky loser from the qualification. A decision by the state of Victoria on Thursday made it clear that the corona situation has worsened. The number of spectators at the Australian Open is limited to 50 percent of capacity.