TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Australian Open will be anything but ‘great’ now that it’s shorn of its biggest star

The Australian Open will be anything but ‘great’ now that it’s shorn of its biggest star

A dark cloud hovers over the Australian Open following the government's successful scapegoating of its most dominant player
Despite declarations to the contrary from the likes of Rafael Nadal and Aussie PM Scott Morrison, an asterisk will be permanently affixed to an Australian Open scrambling for legitimacy after the blacklisting of Novak Djokovic.

If ever there was a pyrrhic victory, this was it. After nearly two weeks of drama and political squabbling bordering on a fully-fledged international incident, the Australian government finally got their man.

As these words are written, the world's top ranked tennis player is 30,000 feet in the air. Each passing minute delivers him further and further away from an arena he has lit up through a prolonged decade of dominance rarely witnessed in the context of professional sports.

Twice Djokovic had his visa revoked, with Sunday morning's Federal Court decision delivering an air of finality and forcing the Serb and his legal team into begrudging acceptance after the legal (and political) red-tape he had become entangled in finally proved too much to overcome.

And to what end? The victory claimed by Morrison and his Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke comes at the expense not just of Djokovic but tennis fans as a whole, and delivers a crushing blow to the legitimacy of a Grand Slam already seen by most as the little brother of the other 'big three' events.

Morrison's victory speech, which might as well have been delivered with a Churchill-esque 'V' sign, told us that "it's now time to get on with the Australian Open and get back to enjoying tennis over the summer" – but this is a statement which entirely omits the reason why many of us watch events like this: to see the world's best players duel on the sport's biggest stages.

Instead, we were given a crash-course in political theater from a politician eager to display populist urges in an election year.

Morrison's stance was influenced, of course, by the wider public in Australia, with polling showing that more than 70 percent of Australians wanted Djokovic kicked out of the country, but one also wonders how much of this was a reaction to almost two years of harsh restrictions being forced down their throats, even as Covid-19 cases soar across the country.

If we can't have it, no-one can. Lockdowns must be justified.

And what of Nadal? The Spaniard, who is currently tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer atop the list of all-time Grand Slam wins with 20, has hit good form at an opportune time and will no doubt be quietly confident of his chances to claim the top spot (the other man in contention, Roger Federer, is injured). But speaking to the media this weekend, Nadal couldn't help but offer a more PR-trained response to the drama.

"It's very clear that Novak Djokovic is one of the best players in history, without a doubt. But there is no one player in history that's more important than an event," he opined.

"The Australian Open is much more important than any player. If he's playing finally, OK. If he's not playing, the Australian Open will be a great Australian Open with or without him."

Will it, though? If there has ever been one player to disprove the age-old maxim that no one individual is bigger than the sport, it is Djokovic – at least as it relates to an Australian Open he has only failed to win four times since 2008.

More telling was the reaction of Russia's Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic's absence means that the world number two will by default be bumped up to the position of top seed, and he argued this weekend that if Djokovic had been given a medical exemption he should have been allowed to play, questioning whether there was a "real legal reason behind this".

The overwhelming feeling which remains is that Djokovic was treated as a scapegoat; an example of the political power which can be wielded should someone dare contradict government advice when it comes to vaccinations.

The official judgement hinted at language which stated that a root of the issue was for the official government policy to not appear to endorse any type of anti-vaccination sentiment whatsoever – something which strikes at the very heart of personal responsibility and freedom of choice.

Sure, Djokovic could likely have handled the situation better and questions as to his visa application are valid but from the moment it appeared that Morrison's government could make an example of him, the conclusion to the saga was inevitable.

That conclusion, though, benefits no one. Not Novak Djokovic, not the Australian Open and not the eventual victor who will raise aloft the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup amid an unescapable veil of political scapegoating.

And all that remains is for Morrison to claim victory in a scenario where there are no winners.
Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×