Djoković gets his marching orders

After much back-and-forthing a federal court in Australia has ruled that the revoking of tennis star Novak Djoković's visa was legal. The Serb was classified as a risk by the Australian Department of Immigration and forced to leave the country on the weekend. The European press has little sympathy with the unvaccinated world number one tennis player.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Only himself to blame

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung shows no sympathy for the tennis star:

“Nothing was right in his attempt to win his tenth title in Australia. As an observer, one is appalled at how poorly advised a sports multimillionaire can be: a family that turns public opinion against itself with furious vitriole instead of courting sympathy. A sportsman who doesn't care if he infects others, and then has the nerve to remind a nation whose hospitality he asked for in its darkest hour that in a global pandemic such mistakes can happen. Djoković will pay for this performance in Melbourne for a long time to come, on many courts around the world.”

The Times (GB) /

A victim of his vanity

The Times sees Djoković's expulsion as fully justified:

“To have made an exception to Covid regulations on grounds of celebrity would have been an abdication of civic responsibility. Though brilliant on the tennis court, Djokovic is less admirable in other fields. He is a celebrity figure among anti-vax campaigners, and he recently met the Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who shamelessly denies the genocide of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995. Djokovic's sporting ambitions have been curtailed not for his opinions, however, but for his refusal to adhere to reasonable rules set by his hosts. He is a victim of nothing but his vanity.”

Denik (CZ) /

Tennis star contrite in the end

Deník believes Djoković's contrite reaction to the Australian decision was genuine:

“After the harsh anti-Australian and anti-Western demonstrations by Djoković's compatriots both in Serbia and Australia, it now seems that the tennis player has finally realised his mistake. Unlike his Serbian compatriots, he has already taken conciliatory action. He apologised for drawing attention to himself that should have been focused on tennis. 'I wish all the players, organisers, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.' With that, he showed that an anti-vaxxer can also show decency and humility.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

You can’t break the rules everywhere

Unlike in the Balkans, law and order is respected in Australia, Jutarnji list says:

“His supporters can defend him all they want, but he ignored vaccination, went around as if there was no such thing as a virus that will soon have claimed 6 million victims, and finally, even though he knew he was infected, met with children and journalists. This is the typical behaviour of a social idiot who doesn't care about people and sees himself as a god. This is how he was allowed to behave in the Balkan-Mediterranean territory, where laws and good manners are broken every day and one is rarely or never held accountable. ... Unfortunately for him, there are better states, for example Australia.”

Profil (AT) /

Political pennies from heaven

Serbian President Vučić has long been making political hay from the pandemic, Profil puts in:

“Before the parliamentary elections in June 2020, he pulled a supposed victory against the virus out of his hat and opened the gates of the football stadiums. After his re-election with an absolute majority a few weeks later, he reintroduced strict curfews. Presidential elections are to be held in April - and more than half of the population is unvaccinated. Vučić isn't even trying to convince them with good arguments. After his phone call with Djoković, he wrote on Instagram: 'I told our Novak that he has the whole of Serbia behind him'. How does the president know that?”