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Drama Down Under for Djokovic

Alex_Scope
Alex_Scope Posts: 764

Scope community team

edited January 6 in Coffee lounge

In a saga that is still unfolding, the last 48 hours has seen the world’s number 1 male tennis player fly to Australia in high spirits, with a medical exemption. He’s hoping to compete in 2022’s first Grand Slam of the year. It’s there that the Serbian is seeking his 21st Slam title, which would be a record unmatched by rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, all standing on 20 slams each.


As has widely been reported; it’s believed that one qualifying exemption according to the Australian Tennis Association, besides acute medical conditions, is having Covid within the last 6 months. This is what most people suspect is the case for Novak, who has been outspoken in his stance on vaccines since the pandemic began and is against being ‘forced to take a vaccine in order to travel.’ His exemption was approved by two blind panels, who checked applications rigorously, according to tournament organisers.

Set this against the backdrop of Melbourne, whose citizens have had to manage strict restrictions, and the longest lockdown enforced in the world, over 200 days in length, and you can understand why there’s been such a big backlash.


The problem for Novak when he landed in Melbourne yesterday, was in fact that the visa his team applied for did not allow entry to the country under a medical exemption. After several hours waiting, it was cancelled, and he was denied entry.

Naturally, not wanting to be sent packing, Djokovic has mounted a legal challenge to try and overturn the visa decision. But, in a further twist the court has been adjourned until Monday, meaning he must wait in a quarantine hotel also used to detain refugees, and those seeking asylum in Australia.  

The very latest events have seen supporters of Djokovic gather outside that hotel, demanding Djokovic be freed, while pro refugee protestors are also present, sometimes attracting unwanted attention from the former, for wearing masks.

I’d be interested to know your thoughts:

  • Was Djokovic entitled to use a medical exemption to gain entry to Australia as an unvaccinated elite athlete?
  • Do you worry about the impact on those with acute medical conditions unable to take the vaccine, who need medical exemptions to bypass Covid restrictions?
  • Do you think Djokovic should be allowed to play at the Australian Open this year, after everything that’s happened?
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Comments

  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 8,234 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes

    Yes

    Depends on whether the reason for his alleged exemption turns out to be legitimate or not.
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 6,055 Disability Gamechanger
    I think that Australia should be allowed who they admit to their country and who they don't, no matter who that person is, his stance on covid looks like coming back to bite him on the derriere.
    Be kind to newer members
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 764

    Scope community team

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts both, I'd say that pride has a part to play in all of this too, sadly.

    This attention will take a while to go away if the media are anything to go by, and depending on the reason for his exemption, entering the rest of the Grand Slams in the coming years might prove more of a headache than not. 

    What do you think would help lessen any negative impact on those people who are unable to have vaccines for medical reasons?
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  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 6,055 Disability Gamechanger
    Thats a difficult question, its a bit like people with disabilities that aren't visible.
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  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Member Posts: 2,381 Pioneering
    Interesting, they've been debating this on lbc radio  alot lately. 
  • lisathomas50
    lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,959 Disability Gamechanger
    I cant have the vacinations  but I also don't want to travel in my opinion doesn't matter who it's is if a country doesn't want someone there then that's their decision 

    Wether your vaccinated or not any one take corona virus into another country and vice versa but if he cant have the vacination then he cant 

    There is no easy answer to whst could be done to lessen the impact 

    I personally don't think there should be any travel at the moment but that's my opinion 
  • Teddybear12
    Teddybear12 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 2,052 Pioneering
    edited January 6
    Do not think he will have an easy time of it if he does play. It looks like one rule for the famous one for the rest of us. If he has nothing to hide why not just say what his exemption is for.  
  • TheAlien
    TheAlien Member Posts: 210 Pioneering
    All of this centers on what his medical exemption is, and that is a private medical matter.  I understand that he has to disclose his reasons for his visa and for entry to Australia, but I fail to see why he has to disclose it to the whole world.
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 764

    Scope community team

    edited January 6
    I believe the exact phrase Djokovic used before he flew out was "exemption permission".

    Playing devil's advocate, if the reason for his exemption is not because of a medical condition, but because he had Covid within the last 6 months, and hasn't had the vaccine through his own choice: Do we think that should that be disclosed? Theoretically on that basis, is there an issue over the tennis association's use of the word 'medical' to cover a personal decision to remain unvaccinated?
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  • lisathomas50
    lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,959 Disability Gamechanger
    I think he should disclose if he has already had covid and its his choice not to  vacinate  people who have been vaccinated have had covid and people who have had the booster have still had corona virus  and people have had it more than once 

    Some countries  aren't letting people in who haven't been vaccinated  because they think they will bring covid in but people who are vaccinated pose the same risk doesn't realy make any difference 

    My personal opinion is that  borders should be closed no travel abroad thsts why we get different variants  we have the tail end of delta and omicron and the French variant all running at the same time people are going abroad and bringing back other variations of covid wether your vaccinated or not going abroad is a risk and eventually the vacinations won't work because the body has got used to it and will stop working this is my opinion 

    If people keep takeing antibiotics the body gets used to them and dont have the same affect so drs only prescribe when realy needed 

    This type of thing I think will happen alot 


  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Member Posts: 8,234 Disability Gamechanger
    TheAlien said:
    All of this centers on what his medical exemption is, and that is a private medical matter.  I understand that he has to disclose his reasons for his visa and for entry to Australia, but I fail to see why he has to disclose it to the whole world.
    No-one has asked him to disclose it to the world. However, his failure to disclose it to the relevant authorities meant this outcome was inevitable. 

    We already know he’s had Covid @lisathomas50. He ran his own tournament without masks or social distancing to make a point. He got Covid as a consequence. I have zero sympathy.
  • Alex_Scope
    Alex_Scope Posts: 764

    Scope community team

    edited 5:51PM
    I'm glad to see this thread has sparked some discussion. Just to put the saga behind us, Sunday evening Australian time, Novak Djokovic boarded a plane back to Dubai following the court ruling that the cancellation of his visa (for a 2nd time!) should be upheld.

    What does the future hold for the Serbian star? Many reporting on these events can only see two options for the coming year: Get vaccinated and continue to travel/play, or, stay unvaccinated and don't travel/play.

    Whatever happens, the general consensus is that he should never have been given the idea that he could use a 'medical exemption' to enter Australia, when the only reason it was given was a recent positive Covid test, and not because of an acute condition or allergy preventing vaccination. It is now apparent that the rules did not allow for Djokovic's exemption. And it's a great shame and embarrassment for all involved that such a breakdown in communication unfolded the way it did.

    Both the French and the US Open seem to be opting for a hardline, black and white approach of 'no vaccine, no entry'. It is really viable, for those tennis players who are unvaccinated, to put their careers, their livelihoods on the line- as we have seen with other examples of mandatory vaccination in the workplace?  

    Perhaps rightly, we can now turn our attention to the first Grand Slam in this year's tennis calendar. One stand out moment is sure to be the fond farewell to Aussie legend, and Paralympic pioneer Dylan Alcott, who is retiring after the tournament.
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  • lisathomas50
    lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,959 Disability Gamechanger
    Pity the UK doesn't do the same Australia are trying to keep their country and their people safe 
  • lisathomas50
    lisathomas50 Member Posts: 4,959 Disability Gamechanger
    Mike I don't have sympathy with him 
  • TheAlien
    TheAlien Member Posts: 210 Pioneering
    The issue for me, wasn't just the fact that he was not vaccinated, it was also the reported facts that he said he hadn't travelled, when he alledgedly had, had allegedly not isolated after testing positive and had carried on giving interviews etc.

    We have care workers having to leave their jobs because they refuse the vaccine, we cannot put a millionaire tennis player above anyone else.

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