Numerous instances of controversies have plagued the world of tennis in recent times. From players verbally abusing umpires to the most recent instance of top players refusing to vaccinate themselves, the bar of controversies remains at an all-time high.
Unfortunately, more often than not, the criticisms concerning the same are almost always unequal. Case in point, the fact remains that the premise of being punished for any such violation is never made on equal grounds.
As the Australian Open marked its beginning, a face remained absent in the crowd, a face that has rampaged through the world of tennis’ greats and made it his own.
Novak Djokovic, the Serbian maestro, is one of the most recognizable faces missing from this year’s roster. However, the actions taken against him are fairly tame when we consider the amount of schtick their female compatriots have faced for comparatively minimal offences.
Why Was Djokovic Deported From Australia?
The previous week marked a fairly significant event that highlighted Djokovic’s visit to Australia for the Australian Open. The Serbian who has till now vehemently declined to take the vaccine has now found himself facing the consequences for his actions.
This will possibly be the first Australian Open where we will not be watching Djokovic fight along with the ranks of Nadal and Murray. Almost all of the world had earlier predicted this since he went on social media sprees commenting about how the vaccine was ineffective, without consequence.
Unfortunately, the entire scenario was one of Djoker reserving his apparent freedom of choice to not get himself vaccinated. The vaccine which, in itself, dictates a person’s ability to ward off the coronavirus, also helps in safeguarding others from being infected with the virus.
Thus, the fact that the denial to partake in the said vaccination affects almost everyone around the denier should be ample reason for one to not be permitted within the borders of a particular country. However, back in Belgrade, the scenario was fairly different from the ideologue that I am trying to peddle.
Djokovic’s visa battle ended with him conceding defeat and being deported back to his country. Upon his arrival, he was greeted by scores of supporters who hailed him as a hero. Most were disgruntled by the Australian government alongside the Association of Tennis Professionals for sending the maestro back home.
One supporter was fairly aggressive as they stated that the treatment meted out to Djokovic was “shameful.” On the other hand, another supporter said that the vaccination was dependent on the choice of the individual.
They said, “I myself am vaccinated, double-jabbed, but I think no-one should be forced to do something. He was judged and sentenced for his freedom of choice.”
It may be argued that the ban levied on is fairly harsh. According to Australian law, any person being denied a visa will consequently be banned from applying for another visa for a period of three years.
However, there also remains a possibility of the tennis player appealing to the authorities to reconsider the ban. The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, elaborated about the ban and the conditions for the appeal in an interview with the Australian radio station, 2GB. He said;
“[The ban] does go over a three-year period, but there is the opportunity for them to return in the right circumstances and that would be considered at the time.”
Yet, as things stand, Novak Djokovic may end up missing out on the Australian Open tournaments for the successive three years, however, faint a possibility that is.
How This Entire Ordeal Sheds Light On The Sexism Present In Tennis
The fact that Djokovic was let off the hook fairly easily, still present with the choice of being vaccinated in the near future to permit himself to go for other tourneys, should be a fair microscope into everything that is wrong with our world.
The ATP let Djokovic return without any warning and any direction pointing towards making the intake of the vaccine mandatory. No fines were levied and no punishments were given to the player, apart from possibly missing out on a couple of other competitions if he still remains stagnant about his decision.
Unfortunately, the world of tennis, in very recent years, has seen fairly ludicrous violations being drawn for female athletes. Unlike the male diaspora, the female athletes have been made scapegoats for a wide variety of ludicrous violations and left out to take the brunt of the media. In very recent years, these scenarios have garnered much more attention.
Possibly the most well-known instance of the ATP being nonchalant and indifferent towards the mental health of its athletes, while also levying a ludicrous amount as fine at the cost of their mental health.
Naomi Osaka, the then World No. 2, had declined to go for the post-match news conference after her first-round victory at the French Open in 2021. This led the Roland Garros authorities to levy a fine of 15,000 USD on the Japanese athlete.
The entire scenario saw Osaka withdrawing from the tournament and taking a sabbatical off tennis. To compound insult with injury, all the four Grand Slam tourneys had begun threatening Osaka with calls of having her withdraw from the tournaments if she did not speak to the media personnel.
Unfortunately, her anxiety was made a mockery of. However, she rose above all of it and now is a part of the Australian Open roster.
In 2018, New York was going through a spell of an unusually hot heatwave that climbed to an egregious temperature of 96F, which apparently felt like a 100.
This tremendous amount of heat had compelled the US Open authorities to give a 10-minute interval to the players to cool down and relax owing to the scorching heat. During the said amount of time interval, the French athlete, Alize Cornet, changed into another shirt.
As the round resumed and she entered the court, she realized that she had put the shirt on backward. Thus, she quickly removed it and wore it in a jiff. Unfortunately, this incident made the umpire, Christian Rask, levy a violation against her name.
This happened owing to the rules of the Women’s Tennis Association dictating that the players may only remove their shirts off the court. No such rule exists for male tennis athletes. It can be fairly assumed that the said rule is a product of its time, unfortunately, there has been little mental evolutionary growth since then.
However, after all, that’s said and done, the Australian Open is still underway and Djoker is out of Australia. It is of utmost pertinence that the ATP keeps its athletes in check no matter their gender or rank, otherwise, the fact of sports being an egalitarian medium remains an illusion.
Disclaimer: This article is fact-checked
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