There is a grim and terrible reality that even the most ardent anti-Djokovic agitators among you know to be true, no matter how deep you bury it in your tortured tennis soul: the male toss of the Australian Open will be better for his presence.
Send Novak Djokovic home? You said it so seriously. You tweeted it so deeply. But you didn’t really mean it. Now that the first part of this kinky orgy of border sovereignty, failed politics, anti-vaxxing and athletic celebrity hunting draws to a close, with the world No.1 serving for victory, it’s almost time to imagine the nine. times champion walking the court in Melbourne and starting on the way to Grand Slam No.21.
There could be more twists and turns in this story yet. The federal government, having already foreshadowed its ability to react so nimbly to consumer sentiment and focus groups, reserved the right to use its discretion to kick him out of the country despite the fact that the Federal Circuit Court has Monday evening ordered Djokovic’s immediate release after radically overturning the initial decision to cancel his visa.
Perhaps they see this as a game for the vaccinated masses, Djokovic clearly not one of them, but such a move would seem overt and vindictive given the flaws that have been demonstrated in the very system that allowed him to ‘get a visa in the first place.
A move of this nature could also mean a three-year suspension for the Serbian champion. Even its harshest criticism would suggest that it is a sanction far beyond the perceived crime and could even jeopardize the future hosting rights of an Australian Grand Slam given its influence and its legacy in sport.
But as it stands on Monday night, Djokovic, a man whose immigration issues so delighted his growing army of critics and detractors, was set to eclipse Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the greatest winner of the Grand Slam of all.
His very presence was disgusting to many even before announcing so proudly that he had been allowed to play despite having spent the past two years screaming out the safe vaccines that have saved millions of lives around the world. Now he faces the very real prospect of being drowned in taunting as he plays on a pitch he has made his own like no other male player.
Don’t make mistakes; the Open, with the participation of Djokovic, will be incendiary and unavoidable.