Djokovic, the throne shakes: Medvedev and Zverev can steal the n.1

Nole in Melbourne locked up in the asylum seekers’ hotel. The Serbian President: “It’s a witch hunt”. And in the meantime it risks losing the record after 2 years

Riccardo Crivelli

Prisoner. Of his rigid and unshakable beliefs against the vaccine, and of the clumsy attempt to secure a medical exemption that would allow him to pass the strict rules of entry into Melbourne to participate in the first Slam of the season, the one he loves the most and who won nine times. But also of a fierce battle between Australian institutions, which has so far culminated in the denial of entry visas, a decision that has ended up bringing the issue internationally, overheating diplomatic relations between Serbia and Australia.

Ten days after the start of the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic, the world number one and reigning champion, is locked up in a hotel destined for the outcasts of the company, without the possibility of receiving anyone and obviously preparing in any way for the tournament. with the nightmare that the loss of credibility is added, if he does not play, also that of the lead in the standings.

The procedure

It is called Park Hotel and from 2020 it also hosts refugees and asylum seekers waiting to receive a visa to stay in Australia: it is there that one of the greatest sportsmen in history, who has earned the right to the comforts of his status, is waiting for a court to review the appeal against the federal government’s decision to deny him entry into the country, which was formalized when he was already at Melbourne airport.

The decisive hearing is set for 10 on Monday morning, when in Italy it will still be midnight. In the meantime, the Djoker’s lawyers have obtained that the request for immediate expulsion from the country be suspended and have asked that their client be able to move into the rented house for the duration of the tournament, also equipped with a tennis court, however obtaining a negative response. . Meanwhile Djokovic remains in the room without even his wallet and, according to someone from inside (there are 32 guests in the hotel), he discovered cockroaches in the sheets, in any case finding the time to send a message to his brother Djordje : “God sees everything! My blessing is spiritual and theirs is material.”

Judge Kelly, charged with the case, urged the lawyers of the 20 Grand Slam winner to present the evidence and new exemption requests by 2pm tomorrow (4am in Italy), while the Interior Ministry will have to file his briefs by 8pm on Sunday (10am with us). Tennis Australia instead asked to know not later than Tuesday if the number one can be registered.

The exemption

The legal battle could even reach the Supreme Court, even if the time that separates the Djoker from the Australian Open is running out. According to the newspaper The Age, however, the chances of victory for the player are very slim. Everything would arise from the nature of the exemption: Djokovic would have asked for it as he recovered from Covid in the last six months. Disease never revealed, however, unlike the positivity announced in June 2020 after the unfortunate experience of the Adria Tour exhibition, but which would justify the absence of 52 days between the final of the US Open and participation in the Bercy tournament.

Sufficient condition for Tennis Australia and the State of Victoria, but not for the Australian government, which would have written twice to tournament director Craig Tiley to warn him that exemption would not be accepted. Failure to participate in the Australian Open could cost Djokovic the number one in the standings exactly after two years: the Serbian in fact returned to the top of the ranking for the fifth time in his career on February 3, 2020, after his eighth triumph in Melbourne. with the victory over Thiem.

The absence would in fact deprive him of the 2000 points of last year’s success, giving Medvedev or Zverev, if they win the Grand Slam, to fill the gap (which is below 2000 points) and therefore the possibility of overcoming it in mid-February when it will expire. the loot of 2021 (the Australian Open was postponed by two weeks due to Covid) and unless Nole decides to play one of the tournaments scheduled at that time to defend herself from the onslaught of the two dioscuri.

Australia in crisis

Meanwhile, as was to be expected, the affair has put relations between Serbia and Australia in crisis. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic spoke of “useless witch hunts”, officially asking that Djokovic be removed from “that infamous hotel”, while the champion’s parents even compared him to Jesus crucified: “They treat him like a criminal, he is a political struggle and the Australian prime minister is a shameless one. ” More disturbances for the Canberra government, struggling with an explosion of infections that could lead to drastic restrictions for major events, including the Australian Open. And closed doors would be the last blow.

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Djokovic, the throne shakes: Medvedev and Zverev can steal the n.1