The Djokovic saga: baffling to families who fought to bring loved ones home

Reading Time: 3 minutes


For many, the in-court tennis match between Novak Djokovic and the Commonwealth was a welcome dramatic distraction from the pandemic. Indeed, it made for far more nail-biting viewing than Australia’s Ashes triumph and gave us the courtroom drama we’ve all been craving since Rake.

However, while the right decision was ultimately made, the fact that the world’s most famous unvaccinated tennis player was able to get so close to entering the country remains baffling.

Like thousands of other Australians, our community has experienced brunt of the government’s strict border policies. In the last two years, the effect of these policies has been effectively locking out its own citizens with scarcely any options to return to their rightful home. Instead of the promise to be home by Christmas 2020, it reached a point where some Australians were threatened with jail time if they even tried. Even now, it is extremely difficult for many to reunite with their families overseas with these policies implemented in the name of protecting public health. To have allowed Djokovic to stay would have meant prioritising the chance of a famous tennis player to win a shiny trophy over the sacrifices made by thousands of Australians.

Of course, it can be argued that with Australia’s COVID case numbers now in the tens of thousands, one unvaccinated player would hardly make any difference to public health. I think that misses the broader point. An Australian Open that included Djokovic would have been a kick in the guts to all Australians who have given up so much over the last two years and patiently endured lockdowns to hit our vaccine targets. We did not do this for any one individual to play a few games of tennis. More importantly, we did not make these sacrifices only to allow a scenario that encouraged unvaccinated individuals, both at home and abroad, to maintain their dangerous stance.

READ ALSO: Visa cancelled: Troubled Djokovic faces deportation

djokovic at the australian open
Source: Twitter

One thing we can be certain of, as many Australians know from experience, is that ordinary individuals would never have gotten as close to entering Australia as Djokovic did. That still sits uncomfortably with me. I accept it is fair to ask, why does it matter now? He’s been deported, end of story. My discomfort lies in the fact that he should never have been granted a visa to begin with.

That the government had to ultimately rely on its ‘God power’ under the Migration Act leaves some questions to be answered. Indeed, Djokovic’s ability to get a visa in the first place echoed the ease with which so many A-list celebrities made it down to ‘Aussiewood’ throughout the pandemic whilst the rest of us remained stranded and in lockdown.

Optimistically, perhaps the decision to revoke his visa shows the government waking up to this double standard. More cynically, it represents a decision that was the most politically expedient at the time.

In any case, COVID has not gone away. Now more than ever, it’s vital that we as a community continue to hold elected officials to account and ensure that the story and sacrifices of this pandemic are not different between ordinary Aussies and the rich and famous.

The latest courtroom drama starring Djokovic may have beat whatever Netflix could offer, but let’s not renew it for another season.

READ ALSO: ‘Serving the community’: COVID testing in remote NSW

- Advertisement -
Khushaal Vyas
Khushaal Vyas
Khushaal Vyas is a recipient of the Premier's Multicultural Youth Medal and resident of South-Western Sydney. He believes he holds the world record for most consecutive days of wearing a hoodie in lockdown.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Let’s Talk Boosters: Indian Link podcast

  In LET'S TALK BOOSTERS, a new podcast series by Indian Link, host Ekta Sharma quizzes Dr Kritman Dhamoon of Blacktown Hospital Sydney about booster...
Frontline worker Parita Patel (inset). Image supplied

‘Serving the community’: COVID testing in remote NSW

  The past two years have been a rollercoaster of COVID-19 related turmoil; from isolating lockdowns, closed borders, to trying to help Indians in the...

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Review: Dhaakad

  Director Razneesh Ghai's Dhaakad is an action-packed, stylishly mounted but twisted thriller that has the feel of a graphic novel. Designed as an espionage thriller,...
scott morrison playing cricket

Seeing the 2022 Federal Elections through the eyes of a cricket...

  On ABC Sydney radio this week (Journos’ Forum with Richard Glover on the Drive show), Indian Link’s Pawan Luthra looked at the 2022 Federal...
gaganyaan discovery +

Review: Gaganyaan – Bharat Ki Antariksh Udaan (Discovery+)

  Gaganyaan, a 47-minute documentary streaming on discovery+, showcases India's ambitious odyssey of sending Indian astronauts into space in an Indian spacecraft by 2023. The film...
heavy metal

Ask Auntyji: Heavy metal vs. my boys arguing

  Dear Auntyji I am an Australian, married to a lady of Indian descent. I occasionally read your columns and need an online dictionary to understand...

Feel in awe at Vivid Sydney

  There are plenty of awesome activities in Sydney all year around. Nearly every month sees a fiesta, embracing themes ranging from art, culture, theatre,...