Opinion: Australia Was Right to Deny Djokovic 


Djokovic with the 2011 Australian open trophy. (Photo: CC BY-SA 2.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Novak_%C4%90okovi%C4%87#/media/File:Novak_Djokovic_AO_win_2011.jpg

On January 9th, my home country and city started hosting the infamous Australian Open, the prestigious tournament that dates to 1905. Despite the optimistic Melbournians (City Where the tournament is hosted) who are enthusiastic about finally being out of a year of harsh lockdown, there has been major controversy over the reigning champion Novak Djokovic’s visa application. 

Djokovic, the Serbian tennis star currently ranked number one in the world, had his entry visa denied by the Australian government. He appealed, won the appeal and was allowed to enter but authorities then revoked his visa again and he was prohibited from entering the country and winning the tournament for a tenth time.  

A few of my mates from home who are of Serbian descent have posted photos on social media protesting Djokovic’s absence. I spoke to some of them, and they all seemed agitated about the decisions. I asked my friend Luka Jevtic what his thoughts were on the decision. “Extremely frustrated and unfair, we were going to go watch him play,” Jevtic said. I sympathized for my mates back home because this is such an important event for my city and not having the world’s best player here is a huge loss. He is such a huge role model to the people in Australia and it is devastating for many young athletes, like my little cousin who idolized Djokovic. I feel bad for tennis fans back home. 

After speaking to some people back home, I wasn’t sure whether my country was doing the right thing. As an Australian, I have concluded that my country did the right thing. Djokovic shouldn’t be at this year’s tournament because he is anti-vaccination and broke several covid rules during a critical time. He was spotted in public shortly after testing positive, which is extremely unethical and infuriating.  

Many people are saying, “he was recently positive, which makes him immune for the next three months. He should be allowed to play.” I understand their argument, but in this scenario it’s not about him being immune or not. It is about his attitude towards the virus and his behaviour. His past decisions were appalling, which makes the visa decision fair: he shouldn’t be playing in this tournament.  

Hopefully, Djokovic will learn his lesson and develop as a human and come back next year. On the bright side, Australia’s fan favourite Nick Kyrgios has more chance of winning now that Djokovic isn’t here.  

C’mon Australia!! 


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