Shameful, shambolic, careless & without thought to just name a few words to describe the chaos around Novak Djokovic’ and his entry to Australia and subsequent revelations around his positive Covid-19 test but also questions to be answered of Australia in this fiasco

This piece can be summed up by the sentence, “no matter the outcome no one comes out of this looking good”.

On Monday the Australian Open begins we now do not know whether Novak Djokovic will be there to play in a chaotic, shambolic and embarrassing time for Djokovic and for the Australian government.

When the words ‘medical exemption’ were used in December we knew that would be issues but to this scale was unthinkable. We have had a player in Renata Voracova detained and deported having already spent 8 days in Melbourne following world number one Novak Djokovic’ detention at Melbourne Airport which saw the world number one win a court case to have his cancelled visa reinstated.

This fiasco has been a joke. The actions of the Australian Government leaves questions unanswered, one of which was how come Renata was able to get through with a medical exemption but kicked out when it became public knowledge of Djokovic’ in what feels like some political point scoring from the PM, Scott Morrison. Tennis Australia also have a lot to answer and it is beggars belief that the Border Force, Australian Government, Australian Medical Panels and Tennis Australia weren’t all singing off the same hymn sheet.

There is a lot of blame on the shoulders of Novak Djokovic. I like Djokovic, I’m a fan of his tennis but this has been shameful, not only has he dragged his name in the mud but the sports. In these situations you have to put allegiances aside, I have seen a lot of support for Novak from his fans ‘Nolefam’ on social media but you have to accept he’s done wrong, very wrong.

The statement he produced on Instagram stinks.

Djokovic has stated that there has been misinformation and corrected it but it doesn’t sit well still.

14th December – attended a Basketball game in Belgrade where are a number of people tested positive.

16th December – took a rapid antigen test which came back as negative and took an ‘official and approved’ PCR test on that day.

17th December – he had not received the results of the PCR test but attended a tennis event at this academy presenting awards to children maskless. He did a rapid antigen test before and it came back negative.

After the event Novak Djokovic received a notification of his positive PCR test.

18th December – He was at his tennis centre in Belgrade and cancelled all interviews and events except for a ‘long standing commitment’ with L’Equipe but did not lead on his was positive and felt ‘obliged’ to go ahead with the interview.

Novak did say when he went home and on ‘reflection’ it was an ‘error of judgement’ and ‘accepts’ he should have rescheduled.

Novak also added that his travel declaration was submitted by his support team and not himself and apologies for the ‘administrative mistake’.

Mistakes are made, there are no doubts about that. I just find it bizarre a worldwide star in sport has a team who could be careless with filling in a form…

I like Djokovic and writing this is sad but it needed to be said. I’ve always defended him and the criticism he has received prior to this fiasco has a lot of the time been fuelled by people’s dislike but you have to admire greatness in sport but you can’t defend these actions.

It is shameful.

What now?

It was announced on Friday that the Minister for Immigration has cancelled his VISA, Djokovic is challenging this and will be in court on Sunday ahead of being scheduled to play the Australian Open on Monday.

I will continue to support him as a player, I’m on the fence whether he should be in Melbourne at all now and it begs the question of what would he have done if he hadn’t of picked up Covid in December?

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