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Police in Australia pepper-sprayed a mob of supporters of tennis champion Novak Djokovic on Monday evening in Melbourne after the crowd began blocking car traffic and standing on a vehicle they thought carried Djokovic. The uproar took place outside Djokovic’s lawyer’s office.

As we reported earlier, Djokovic was freed from Australian detention on Monday by a judge who ruled the government had made a mistake canceling his visa. He is planning on staying in Australia to try and compete in the Australian Open in Melbourne next week, where he will be angling to clinch his 21st Grand Slam title, which would put him ahead of Roger Federer for most wins.

Djokovic tried to enter the country last week to start practicing early for the tournament, but border force agents detained him and forced him into a migrant detention facility, something that was not taken well by his fans. 

While the Australian government tried to slander Djokovic as a public health threat (as if his presence would make any difference in a country where COVID cases are surging despite all measures to try and slow the spread), some have speculated that Djokovic’s detention was due to the fact that his exemption was given because he had been infected in December 2021. The Australian government doesn’t want to appear to give legitimacy to the notion that natural infection breeds immunity (even though natural infection is likely better).

The scene was captured on social media.

The Australian government is still reportedly weighing whether to “deport” Djokovic ahead of the tournament (which begins Jan. 17). While it’s been said the decision won’t arrive today, it may arrive in the coming days.

Given the intensity of the crowd response at Djokovic’s lawyer’s office, one twitter user joked that the Australian government would be foolish to try re-arresting him for a deportation.

But if the recent past is any guide, well, they have made stupider decisions.


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