No winners as Djokovic double faults

When is a party not a party? That’s surely the hottest topic in the UK at the moment. As Boris remains trapped in a quandary trying to differentiate between his head and his backside. Apparently Bono, Eamon Ryan and Pat Kenny are in hiding with him. Hopefully Bojo has hidden the keys and isolated the other three.

In another part of the world, when is an exemption not one? When is being held prisoner not that? Either Novak Djokovic needs somebody to explain that to him or he has a lot of explaining to do. Or perhaps both scenarios apply.

To fill in anyone not up to speed with the story, the world’s top male tennis player was initially granted a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open. That, however, was knocked on the head when Australian Border Patrol refused the Serbian entry to the country.

Now, here’s where things get murky between obligation and choice. On one side, Djokovic, like anybody, had the choice to take vaccine or not. But, at the same time, the Australian authorities have to look after their security issues. What throws even more mud into the water is the fact that (a) the player caught the virus (b) he wasn’t vaccinated and (c) he didn’t self isolate having tested positive for Covid-19.

For me, it’s the latter point that puts a fly in the multiple Grand Slam winners’ soup. Whatever about being sceptical about some of the facts and figures being dispensed regarding Covid, and even if one chose not to take the inoculation, again, that’s what it was, choice. However, in not isolating have caught the vile thing, Djokovic may have crossed the line between being entitled to his own views and being dangerously reckless.

It makes you think. Seeing police breaking up protests or other gatherings – even in private residences – is one thing – but people not isolating having been confirmed as carrying the damn thing is surely something that should be monitorable. Presumably the Digital Covid Cert is available and applicable on a fairly broad scale. Thus, surely it wouldn’t be that big of an issue to add an isolation Check In feature.

Novak Djokovic

The other side of all this – as his legal team presumably argued – is that, if the player considered himself healthy and fit enough to compete he should have the right to earn his living. As far as I’m aware vaccinations are not compulsory in many/any countries so he’d be OK on that score too.

Where he probably has shot himself in the foot and has nobody to blame but hjimself is in (a) not isolating and (b) then trying to foist the blame for his own mistakes onto his manager.

Regardless of what happens now, it’s a no-win situaation for all concerned. Were the world’s top player not in the first Grand Slam of the season the event will naturally devalued somewhat. Then again, if the top man was to go on and win the tournament, it would be one of those titles with an asterisk beside it.

This story probably has a few games and sets to run yet, but who knows, the odd tennis match might break out too!

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