Novak Djokovic’s status as one of this century’s greatest athletes is undisputed – not a description that could ever be applied to his views on health matters.

An obsessive interest in how best to maintain his physical and psychological well-being mirrors the fanatical pursuit to improve as a tennis player. It has led to him sometimes into dangerous quackery and faddism.

This inexplicable search eventually led him to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport immigration detention area, where Wednesday’s bizarre drama unfolded.

Djokovic often attracts controversy wherever he goes. This is because of his unusual mix of passion and fierce intelligence, temperament and sometimes shocking lack of self-awareness. 

Novak Djokovic was told he would not be granted entry into Australia on Wednesday after the government rejected his visa, as it did not support vaccine exemption on medical grounds

Novak Djokovic received a message from Australia that he wouldn’t be allowed entry to Australia after his visa was rejected by the government. The reason for this rejection is because it doesn’t support exemption of vaccines on medical grounds.

It is just the latest controversial episode involving Djokovic (left) and his wife Jelena (right)

This is the latest controversy involving Djokovic and Jelena (right).

The most recent episode takes place 36 hours ago, when he announced that he was going to Australia despite having evaded vaccination requirements.

He was too confident in his post on social media, which drew the anger of those who have endured more lockdowns around the globe than anyone else. Not only does he have an exceptional athletic ability but also a pair of giant tin ears.

This brutal collision with public opinion – not to mention opportunistic Australian politicians – has been a long time coming, a course plotted since the onset of the pandemic.

He took part in a Facebook live discussion shortly after it was reported.

“Personally, I oppose vaccination. I would not want to be made to use a vaccine to allow me to travel.” But if vaccination becomes mandatory, then what? I’ll have to take a decision. 

Djokovic took to social media earlier in the week to reveal he had got a medical exemption

 Djokovic took to social media earlier in the week to reveal he had got a medical exemption

His beliefs about health go back further than Covid and date to the start of the past decade. By pressing down a piece of bread on his stomach, he discovered that he had a wheat allergy.

Always a profound thinker with a sharp mind – he has taught himself to converse in seven languages, for example – the more success he has had, the more interested he has become in the workings of body and spirit.

Pepe Imaz is a Spanish coach who believes meditation can be used to hug trees. He started working with him in 2016. The ‘peace-and-love’ gestures accompanying the Serb’s victory were created by him.

Djokovic developed elbow pains the next year. He tried various holistic treatments before finally deciding to have conventional surgery. Djokovic later admitted that he was devastated at the inability to resolve his problem through natural medicine. 

Djokovic, who was all smiles when he landed in Australia on Wednesday, is obsessed with holistic cures and once revealed he cried for three days after he had conventional surgery

Djokovic, who smiled when he arrived in Australia, was obsessed with holistic remedies. Once, he revealed that he wept for three days after having conventional surgery.

He was already an advocate of hyperbaric chambers and brought a portable version in a truck to Flushing Meadows.

His left-field visions were only made more apparent when the virus struck and stopped the world.

After his Facebook exchange – which earned him a public rebuke from one of Serbia’s leading epidemiologists – he participated in live Instagram feeds with his friend, self-styled health entrepreneur Chervin Jafarieh.

They promoted at one time the belief that positive thinking could transform polluted water to safe drinking water.

Jelena, his wife on social media had an identical warning for false information placed on her post. It linked the outbreak to 5G Telecommunication Masts.

His organization of the tragic Adria Tour was then created. It featured a number of exhibits in the Balkans and refused to follow any Covid rules. Amid nightclub carousing and close quarters games of basketball many of its participants – including Djokovic and his wife – tested positive for the virus. 

Jelena Djokovic (left), with of world No 1 men's singles player Novak, has been shamed for spreading a 5G conspiracy on social media

Instagram produced a 'False Information' warning on a video she posted back on April 1

Jelena Novak’s wife, world number 1 tennis player, Jelena, received a “false information” label from Instagram after she shared a conspiracy theory about 5G causing coronavirus.

Djokovic's (top) online chats with Chevrin Jafarieh (bottom) became notorious in the pandemic

The pandemic became famous because of Djokovic (top) and Chevrin Jafarieh’s (bottom).

He was not happy with the outcome, though it did make him more open to spiritual exploration. For instance, he is a frequent visitor to the Bosnian pyramids, which are believed emit a mysterious energy.

They are pointed hills that a local archaeologist says are made by man. Other experts have dismissed this idea as completely false.

His unconventional approach could be his greatest chance to beat his competitors in the race for Grand Slams, or at least significantly dented.

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top, he is level with 20 Major titles. He should also be the leader, which to many neutrals means he is the greatest man’s tennis player.

Without hurling a ball in angrily at a judge, in round 4 of the 2020 US Open US Open, he wouldn’t have been on 21.

This latest turmoil, however it plays out, comes as he turns 35 next May and when Alex Zverev and Daniil Medvedev are real threats to his dominance on the court. 

The Serbian (far right) hosted the ill-fated Adria Tour event in the middle of the pandemic - and it had to be ended prematurely after a number of the players contracted the virus

In the middle of pandemic, Serbia hosted the disastrous Adria Tour. It was ended early after several players got the virus.

Djokovic (left centre) and fellow tennis stars partied in a Belgrade nightclub in June 2020, with some of the players taking their shirts off during the riotous evening

Djokovic (left center) with fellow tennis players partied at a Belgrade club in June 2020. Some of the participants even took off their shirts during this wild evening.

Although many criticize him for his sport’s shortcomings, his views about vaccines are much more nuanced and balanced than they sometimes portray.

He arranged that those who desired the jab could be given it at the ATP Tour Belgrade event earlier in the year.

It is also important to note that athletes are not recorded giving more charity support through pandemics than they have done. 

He also works tirelessly to help other tennis players unions.

His belief that vaccines are about freedom and choice in what people put into their bodies has been a constant theme. He could have been seen to be principledly self-denying, and self-defeating, given the Melbourne opportunity that he missed.

If he returns to Victoria, the huge Serbian community will continue supporting him. Several have worn T-shirts that featured a catchy slogan: ‘Novak Against The World.’

Djokovic lashed away a ball in anger at a line judge in the 2020 US Open fourth round

Djokovic was furious at a judge who had given him a call in the fourth round of the 2020 US Open.

After hitting line judge Laura Clark in the throat, the world No 1 was disqualified from the event

The world number one was eliminated from the event after she hit Laura Clark, judge in the throat.