Novak Djokovic's deportation from Australia earlier this year became the talk of the town in the early days of the 2022 season, and those scars have opened up once again today under completely unexpected circumstances.
Australian women's cricketer Tahlia McGrath featured in the final of the 2022 Commonwealth Games against India on Sunday despite testing positive for COVID ahead of the encounter, a match that Australia went on to win.
Although McGrath was spotted socially distancing in the pavilion and wearing a mask when not on the field, the move by Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council to allow her participation received widespread criticism.
One of the most prominent detractors turned out to be Indian television network Times Now's special correspondent Karishma Singh. Singh, who has covered the Tokyo Olympics and the Cricket World Cup in the past, compared the situation to that of the 21-time Grand Slam champion Down Under, wondering why there was such a discrepancy.
If Djokovic, considered a threat by the health authorities because he was not vaccinated, was not eligible to play at the Australian Open, Karishma Singh questioned why the same rule did not extend to one of their own athletes in this scenario.
"Tahlia McGrath represents a country that ensured Novak Djokovic was deported and not allowed to play in the Australian Open for being unvaccinated and was called a threat. [But] when it came to one of their own - it was okay to let her play with COVID?" Singh tweeted.
Novak Djokovic is not allowed to play in the US Open as well due to similar vaccine restrictions
Similar to the situation in Australia, Novak Djokovic will not be allowed to play in the US Open later this month due to vaccine restrictions in the country preventing unvaccinated travelers from entering the United States.
Unlike the Australian Open, however, the tournament organizers at Flushing Meadows have already declared that they will abide by the government rules and not request any medical exemption for the Serb. What that means, therefore, is that there will not be a deportation drama with the World No. 6 at its center this time around.
The former World No. 1, meanwhile, is practicing in the hopes that the situation might change in the coming days, especially with politicians in the country clamoring for him to be allowed to compete in New York.
Several prominent Republicans have written to President Joe Biden requesting him to give the 35-year-old special exemption, pointing out that vaccine mandates no longer make any sense at this point in the pandemic.