Novak’s principled stance has only served to highlight the fact that millions of Australians have allowed themselves to be abused for the past two years. And no one wants to admit that.
It is far easier to demonise a Serbian millionaire who took a stand than it is to agree that we have been bullied into submission by politicians and health bureaucrats.
How else to explain the unhinged reaction to the world Number One tennis player being allowed to defend his Australian Open title? And how else to understand the glee with which his subsequent visa rejection was greeted?
When news broke earlier this week that Novak was going to be allowed to play in Australia, a Victorian journalist tweeted: ‘If we still have crowds at the Australian Open by the time it starts, it’s the duty of every Australian to boo Novak relentlessly between sets. Shit is absolutely f***ed.’
Urging 14,000 people under the Rod Laver Arena roof to exhale in unison to protest an airborne virus is the kind of dumb you can only be when you’re smack bang in the middle of a rabid mob.
Not to be outdone, a prominent Melbourne journalist tweeted that the Australian Open was ‘a tournament fans were scared to come to in the first place and won’t want to attend now’.
Really? People were scared that the medically cleared Grand Slam winner might walk onto a fenced-off court, cough during a rally, and infect everyone in the stadium with the plague? Get a grip. He’s a tennis player, not the Grim Reaper.
No one seriously believes Novak is a health risk. And no one seriously believes that kicking him out of the country is protecting Australians.
Australia recorded more than 60,000 Covid cases in the past 24 hours. It’s not like Novak – someone who is perfectly healthy and who has natural immunity from having beaten the virus earlier – was going to ruin Melbourne’s (mythical) Covid-Zero utopia.
Novak’s crime was to have insisted that a person’s medical information should be private – something we all believed as recently as 2018.
He then successfully argued his case before an independent panel of six doctors as well as the Victorian Health Department. As a result, he was cleared to ply his trade as a free man, with a clean bill of health.
You see the problem here, don’t you? Novak kept his medical history private while we all agreed to flash our medical history to a stranger in exchange for the right to enter Kmart.
Novak fought for and won the right to earn a living on his own terms while we all consented to making a series of unending injections a condition of being able to earn a livelihood.
Novak’s real crime was to have stood up for himself and, in so doing, exposed everyone elses cowardice.
Don’t think of Novak as a tennis player who got special privileges. He did not.
And don’t think of Novak as a selfish athlete who is disrespecting Australia. He is not.
Think of Novak as a mirror in whom we saw an unflattering reflection of ourselves. Our first response was to smash the mirror. Then we cheered that the mirror was to be marched onto a plane and sent back to where it had come from.
But there is no escaping what we have seen of ourselves – or the bad luck that’s sure to come with breaking that mirror.