He's Being Treated Like a Criminal': Novak Djokovic's Australian Humiliation Shocks Sports World

© REUTERS / POOLFormer world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic speaks during a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia July 26, 2017.
Former world No.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic speaks during a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia July 26, 2017. - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.01.2022
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Novak Djokovic's Australian Open saga took an ugly turn on Thursday after the country's Border Force said that his visa has been cancelled and he will not be allowed to enter the island nation. The Serbian was detained at the Melbourne Airport despite having a medical exemption to compete in the prestigious tournament.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic's treatment by Australian authorities has prompted global condemnation, with current and former players, journalists, and fans claiming that the tennis superstar has become a "pawn in a political game".

Former top-ranked player in women's doubles, Rennae Stubbs, called Djokovic's visa snub a "sh*t show".

"This is a sh*t show now", she said on Instagram. "It's officially a huge sh*t show".
Stubbs, a six-time Grand Slam champion, accused Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison of giving the whole episode a political colour before declaring that the country has set a bad precedent.
"I wondered if he had the right papers on the plane. When he arrived they said he didn't have the right papers, I think this is also political. This is a bad precedent that has been set", she added.
Meanwhile, another vocal critic of COVID-19 vaccines, American tennis star Tennys Sandgren insisted that Australia doesn't deserve to "host a Grand Slam" as he alleged that it was the politicians who have stopped Djokovic from being allowed in the country.
On the other hand, legendary tennis coach Brad Gilbert, who coached former No. 1 players Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt in the past, said that if Djokovic's medical exemption has been revoked, so should the others given a similar favour.
Djokovic's fans also posted scathing remarks on Twitter, with some saying the world's best tennis player was being "treated like a criminal", while others argued that "he didn't deserve the treatment he's getting from Australia".
Yet it was Oliver Brown, the tennis editor of The Telegraph, who was more forthright in his assessment of Djokovic's situation.
While he said that Djokovic only had himself to blame for the mess, the Australian government wanted to earn some brownie points after the backlash over his medical exemption and hence, they are playing a political game over it.
"Very few in tennis or beyond are much inclined to see Djokovic as a victim. The most prevalent view is that he only has himself to blame, that he could have saved himself the trouble by being vaccinated, just like most of his peers", Brown wrote in his column.
The renowned journalist dubbed Djokovic's "detention" at the airport "merciless ridicule", considering the reigning Wimbledon and French Open champion had contributed immensely to Australia's relief efforts during the wild bushfires two years ago.
"It is still possible, though, to feel a touch uncomfortable at how a nine-time Australian Open champion, a figure who in 2020 donated money to help relief efforts from the country's devastating bushfires, is being held up to such merciless ridicule", Brown said. "That unease is magnified by the posturing of Mr Morrison and his ministers, which suggests Djokovic is less the architect of his downfall than a pawn in a cynical political game".
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