Monday, Jul 04, 2022
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How Porn Added Flavour To Novak Djokovic's Australian Open Visa Controversy

Novak Djokovic's deportation hearing in Melbourne became a farce, up to some extent, as the virtual proceedings crashed several times. And at one point, an expired court link was hacked and pranksters streamed loud music and pornography.

Novak Djokovic won a court battle to stay in Australia but the saga surrounding the Serbian's visa cancellation and his vaccine stand continues. File Photo

Novak Djokovic's fight against deportation and to compete in the Australian Open 2022 where he can potentially become the 'greatest' tennis player has taken the world by storm, and "the one thing this whole Djokovic saga had been missing" was "porn"! (More Tennis News)

But that part was also covered, in a farcical manner, on Monday during the virtual hearing of the 'Djokovic vs Australia government' case. With an overwhelming number of people from around the world trying to watch the proceedings, the 'hearing' crashed several times.

And at one point, an expired court link was hacked and pranksters streamed loud music and pornography. The farce was best summed up by News Corp's Emily Benammar, who took to Twitter and wrote: "Porn: the one thing this whole Djokovic saga had been missing."

For the uninitiated, the whole saga started when Djokovic, the nine-time Australian Open champion and the holder, revealed that he's "heading Down Under with an exemption permission."

The medical exemption allowed the Serbian to compete in the Australian Open 2022 regardless of his vaccination status for COVID-19, but it wasn't everything the Serbian needed to enter Australia. His vaccination status was a subject the world number one has declined to clarify amid months of speculation he could miss the season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne.

After receiving the exemption from Victoria state authorities and Australian Open organisers, the 34-year-old boarded a plane for Australia last week. But upon arrival, Australian federal border officials refused to let him in, saying the exemption was not valid.

The reversal and the cancellation of the visa led some to cry foul, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government seeking re-election for a fourth term in polls due by May. Then it became a political controversy, beyond tennis, beyond borders with Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic accusing the Australian Prime Minister of complicity in a ‘witch hunt’ against the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

At Monday's court hearing, Djokovic's lawyers argued their client did not need proof of vaccination because he had evidence that he had been infected with the coronavirus last month.

Australian medical authorities have ruled that people who have been infected with COVID-19 within six months can receive a temporary exemption to the vaccination rule.

And Djokovic won the court battle to stay in Australia, but the drama might not be over, with the Australian government threatening to cancel his visa a second time and deport him.

The government lawyer Christopher Tran told the judge that the immigration minister “will consider whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation.”

That would mean that Djokovic could again face deportation and could miss the tournament, which starts on January 17. It could also bar him from the country for three years.

The back and forth has gripped the world and caused a furor in Australia, where many initially decried the news that Djokovic, who has been a vocal skeptic of vaccines, had received an exemption to strict rules to compete in Melbourne.

Many felt the star, who court documents say is not innoculated against COVID-19, was being given special treatment since Australians who aren’t vaccinated face tough travel and quarantine restrictions.

Meanwhile, another 20-time Slam winner, Rafael Nadal called the controversy “a circus” and said he supported the decision allowing his rival to play in the upcoming tournament.

“Beyond me agreeing or not with Djokovic on certain things, there’s no question that justice has spoken and has said that he has the right to take part in the Australian Open,” the Spaniard said Monday during an interview with Spain’s Onda Cero radio.

Djokovic is bidding to break a three-way tie for most Grand Slam wins by a male tennis player. Swiss great Roger Federer was the first to reach the 20-slam mark.

(With agency inputs)

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