What’s the distinction between how the Romans punished Jesus Christ and the best way that Australia’s authorities is treating the world’s high male tennis participant, 34-year-old Novak Djokovic?

None in any respect, in response to his father, Srdjan Djokovic.

Final week he declared: ‘Jesus was crucified on the cross and every thing was completed to him, however he’s alive amongst us even now. Now Novak is being crucified, they’re doing every thing to him.’

The one apt response is that given by the late Terry Jones, enjoying the a part of the mom of Brian, in Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.

To a crowd declaring Brian to be the Son of God, Jones screeched: ‘Now you pay attention right here! He’s not the Messiah, he’s a really naughty boy!’

The 20-times Grand Slam title winner (a males’s file held collectively with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) — who was set on profitable the forthcoming Australian Open, and thus overhauling these two rivals — has, certainly, been very naughty. 

And the alleged punishment he’s now present process — pressured to quarantine in Melbourne’s Park Resort, and required to eat the meals it supplies, fairly than that cooked by his private chef — is just not precisely the identical as being mercilessly flogged and crucified.

Djokovic’s ‘naughtiness’ doesn’t consist in his refusal to take a Covid vaccine, or, certainly, his public opposition to vaccination; if that’s what he believes, he’s entitled to say it.

Champion tennis player Novak Djokovic's (pictured, with wife Jelena) court battle to stay in Australia so he can play in the Australian Open tournament is due to go ahead on Monday

Champion tennis participant Novak Djokovic’s (pictured, with spouse Jelena) courtroom battle to remain in Australia so he can play within the Australian Open event is because of go forward on Monday

Pictured: Tennis player Novak Djokovic's father Srdjan Djokovic speaks flanked by his wife Dijana Djokovic, as they take part in a rally in front of Serbia's National Assembly, in Belgrade

Pictured: Tennis participant Novak Djokovic’s father Srdjan Djokovic speaks flanked by his spouse Dijana Djokovic, as they participate in a rally in entrance of Serbia’s Nationwide Meeting, in Belgrade

However then he also needs to be ready to just accept the results. Which, provided that the Australian visa coverage calls for incomers are ‘double-vaccinated’ towards Covid, would imply not participating in an occasion at which he has been undefeated since 2018.

Quite a few different much less illustrious tennis stars behaved accordingly. Such unvaccinated gamers because the French five-times Grand Slam doubles champion Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and Tennys Sandgren of the U.S., declared they might not participate for that cause.

So they might have been amazed when the organisers of the Australian Open, and a sports activities medical panel arrange for the occasion by the state of Victoria, introduced that Djokovic had certified for exemption from the vaccine requirement.

I think about essentially the most affronted would have been the vaccinated Russian participant Natalia Vikhlyantseva, denied entry as a result of the Australian authorities had not permitted the Russian Sputnik vaccine (a superbly respectable one, and as efficient as these used Down Beneath).

Admittedly, Djokovic has turn out to be a sufferer of Australian politics, too.

Initially, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, stated he accepted the exemption for Djokovic given by Tennis Australia and the federal government of Victoria (which each had a transparent curiosity on this planet’s high participant participating of their occasion).

However when the Labour Opposition — and, certainly, tens of millions of Australians who had endured among the world’s strictest anti-Covid restrictions — cried foul, Morrison reversed his place.

And provided that immigration is primarily a federal and never a state matter, Djokovic immediately discovered himself going through not a heat welcome from the tennis-loving Australians, however the probability of expulsion from the nation.

Pictured: Novak Djokovic with the Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley in 2015

Pictured: Novak Djokovic with the Australian Open event director Craig Tiley in 2015

It is a matter now to be contested by the participant’s legal professionals, who insist that his exemption from the vaccination requirement was completely in accordance with the foundations set out by Tennis Australia.

These guidelines allowed such exemption if the participant involved might reveal that he (or she) had lately contracted, and recovered from, Covid. And Djokovic’s legal professionals stated that it was on December 16 that their consumer’s ‘first optimistic PCR check was recorded’.

But the next day, December 17, Djokovic was photographed, maskless, handing out the annual prizes on the Novak Tennis Centre within the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Fishy. 

Fishier nonetheless is the truth that the related doc, issued by Tennis Australia to all would-be opponents within the Open, states: ‘If you need your medical exemption reviewed by the judgment panel, you’ll need to ahead your software and supporting documentation urgently and no later than Friday December 10, 2021.’

These final ten phrases had been printed in daring, for emphasis. So how was it potential for Novak Djokovic to have submitted a legitimate kind by December 10, if his ‘qualifying’ an infection (now over) was not first detected till December 16?

His lawyers argue a recent infection gives him exemption. Pictured: Djokovic and wife Jelena

His legal professionals argue a latest an infection provides him exemption. Pictured: Djokovic and spouse Jelena

On the very least, this strongly means that he was given particular remedy, not obtainable to different contributors. And there are few, if any, nations extra hostile than Australians to the thought of particular privileges for individuals on the high.

That offends towards the entire ‘mate’ tradition: it goes effectively past merely the thought of everybody having to face the identical remedy in relation to coronavirus restrictions.

There’s not a lot sympathy, both, for Djokovic’s pseudo-medical clowning, which underlies the entire enterprise.

In the summertime of 2020, whereas the primary wave of the pandemic was nonetheless rife, and earlier than any vaccines arrived on the scene, he organised a charity event, the Adria Tennis Tour, in 4 Balkan cities.

Unsurprisingly, inside days, lots of the gamers and coaches examined optimistic for Covid, together with Djokovic and his spouse Jelena, and the occasion was deserted.

Djokovic issued an announcement saying he had acted solely ‘with a pure coronary heart’.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, said he accepted the exemption for Djokovic given by Tennis Australia and the government of Victoria but when people cried foul, he reversed his position

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, stated he accepted the exemption for Djokovic given by Tennis Australia and the federal government of Victoria however when individuals cried foul, he reversed his place

However he was already opposing Covid vaccines even earlier than they had been developed. He has given nice succour to the antivax trigger. It could be no accident that Serbia, the place he’s commemorated, has one of many lowest vaccination charges in Europe.

It’s not simply the good Novak who opposes vaccination: his 35-year-old spouse shared social media posts claiming that the pandemic was attributable to 5G telecommunication masts. If that had been true, then vaccination will surely not be the suitable response. 

However the place did the couple’s eccentric medical opinions originate? Apparently they started in round 2010, when Novak was struggling along with his health and was seen by a health care provider known as Igor Cetojevic.

In keeping with The Occasions, Cetojevic ‘pressed down on the star’s proper arm. Then he made Djokovic maintain a bit of bread towards his abdomen along with his left hand, whereas he pressed down on the star’s proper arm as soon as extra. This time Djokovic found his proper arm was weaker.

‘This easy experiment was the appearance of the gluten-free weight-reduction plan that Djokovic credit with fuelling his ascent.’

Djokovic’s guru — and alleged sporting saviour — additionally makes use of a pendulum to detect ‘holes’ within the physique’s ‘environment’.

Pictured: Russian player Natalia Vikhlyantseva, who was denied entry to the country because the Australian authorities had not approved the Russian Sputnik vaccine she had received

Pictured: Russian participant Natalia Vikhlyantseva, who was denied entry to the nation as a result of the Australian authorities had not permitted the Russian Sputnik vaccine she had acquired

It was one Chervin Jafarieh, although, founding father of a ‘wellness firm’ known as Cymbiotika, who satisfied Djokovic that ‘by the facility of gratitude, [people] flip essentially the most poisonous meals into essentially the most therapeutic water’.

Maybe Novak ought to strive that with the meals he’s been served on the Melbourne Park Resort, if he thinks it’s poisonous.

Funnily sufficient, I as soon as underwent the identical ‘remedy’ as that offered by Dr Cetojevic, after I spent ten days at a Central European spa.

The top of the spa did the ‘place meals on abdomen whereas pushing on arm’ stunt, and declared, after claiming I supplied ‘much less resistance’ when holding a bit of cheese, that I used to be ‘lactose-intolerant’.

I expressed my scepticism on the time, and, virtually 15 years later, can affirm that I preserve good well being on a weight-reduction plan heavy with dairy merchandise — particularly cheese.

However, I haven’t managed to win 20 Grand Slam tennis tournaments.

This ‘remedy’, if you’re , is a department of what’s referred to as ‘kinesiology’: go to the web site of the Kinesiology Affiliation on this nation and one can find it taking the credit score for ‘the weight-reduction plan that saved Novak Djokovic’.

None of that is to criticise Djokovic as a sportsman. And his wonderful self-belief is intimately linked to his never-say-die angle on the courtroom.

However in the true life-and-death world of medication, vaccines have saved extra tens of millions of lives than all different therapies mixed. That’s not a sport.