Novak Djokovic
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 player in the world is starting the new year with a disaster.

UPDATE: Djokovic has apparently been told to leave Australia as soon as possible, and his visa has been cancelled.

Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest men’s tennis players of all-time. He’s the top-ranked player in the world and begins the new year looking to bolster his hall of fame resume.

Unfortunately for him, the first major of the year is in Australia, which has been one of the more committed countries in the world when it comes to pandemic safety.

Djokovic has been an outspoken anti-vaxxer from Day One. And he went as far as to apply for — and receive — a medical exemption to participate in the Australian Open this year.


But there’s a problem.

Djokovic applied for the wrong kind of visa. And now he’s stuck in Australia without the ability to do anything in Australia.

The Age newspaper in Melbourne reported overnight that Djokovic landed before midnight local time Wednesday at Tullamarine Airport. However, it appears his visa application was not correct, and he hasn’t been allowed to formally enter the country.

And the local government, unlike the tournament, aren’t inclined to do him any favors.

This is bizarre and wild and is creating a chaotic situation making headlines for tennis in all the wrong ways.

Djokovic has been a highlight on the world stage for a decade. Now he’s putting tennis in a tough spot. Maybe it’s time for him to stop being a racket and sit this one out.

Tab has written about MLB, the NHL and the NFL for more than a decade for publications including The Fourth Period, Bleacher Report and La Vida Baseball. He is the author of two books about the Chicago Blackhawks and has been credentialed for the MLB All-Star Game and postseason and multiple Stanley Cup Finals. He is the co-host of the Line Drive Radio podcast.