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The whole country hates Novak Djokovic for having the courage to do what most of us haven’t – stand up for ourselves.

Novak’s principled stance has only served to highlight the fact that millions of Australians have been abused in the past two years. And nobody wants to admit that.

It is much easier to demonize a Serbian millionaire who has taken a stand than to admit that we have been forced into submission by politicians and health bureaucrats.

How else can you explain the disturbed reaction to the fact that the world number one in tennis can defend his title at the Australian Open? And how else can one understand the joy with which his subsequent refusal of the visa was greeted?

When it became known earlier this week that Novak could play in Australia, a journalist from the state of Victoria tweeted: If we still have spectators at the Australian Open when they start, it’s the duty of every Australian to keep Novak relentless between the sets to boo. This shit is absolutely fucked up.

Urging 14,000 people under the roof of the Rod Laver Arena to exhale together to protest against an airborne virus is the kind of stupidity that can only be demonstrated when you’re in the middle of an angry mob.

A prominent Melbourne journalist tweeted that the Australian Open was “a tournament to which the fans were afraid from the start and now don’t want to come”.

Actually? People were afraid that the medically certified Grand Slam winner could walk into a fenced-in area, cough during a rally and infect everyone in the stadium with the plague? Pull yourself together. He’s a tennis player, not the Grim Reaper.

Nobody seriously believes that Novak poses a health risk. And nobody seriously believes that kicking him out of the country will protect Australians.

More than 60,000 Covid cases have been registered in Australia in the past 24 hours. It’s not as if Novak – someone who is perfectly healthy and has natural immunity from having already defeated the virus – would ruin Melbourne’s (mythical) Covid-Zero utopia.

Novak’s crime was insisting that a person’s medical information should be private – something we all believed in as recently as 2018.

He then successfully argued before an independent panel of six doctors and the Victorian Health Authority. He was then given permission to practice his profession as a free man, and he was declared sane.

You see the problem here, don’t you? Novak kept his medical history to himself while we all agreed to share our medical history with a stranger in exchange for the right to enter Kmart.

Novak fought for the right to make a living on his own terms and won it, while we all agreed to make a series of endless injections a condition of our being able to make a living.

Damned!

Novak probably wouldn’t have agreed to a 9 p.m. curfew. He probably wouldn’t have forbidden his children to visit playgrounds. And he probably wouldn’t have missed valuable family time because an unelected, unrepresentative bureaucrat said “science”. Novak would probably have resisted all this nonsense. And how we hate him for it!

We have to hate him … If Novak is not the devil then we are all fools – fools because we bow to more and more nonsensical demands, and fools because we consent to the covid goalposts being moved endlessly.

Novak’s participation in the Australian Open doesn’t mean we have all been ripped off by politicians. Novak was the problem – not the tyrannical rules to which we so willingly submitted. Rules that made us so angry because Novak refused to be enslaved next to us. That was not fair. Why would Novak resist if we hadn’t?

He should be booed. He should be boycotted. He should get sick with Covid!

At least that is what some people seriously suggested, claiming, of course, that they were “public health” concerned.

So it went on and on. Vitriol on contempt, contempt for contempt.

Peter Helliar of The Project tweeted: Margaret Court is relieved that she won’t be the least popular person at Rod Laver Arena this year ”.

Aside from the fact that with the story of Novak’s medical exemption, Helliar did himself no favor kicking a 79-year-old woman, how do we explain Helliar’s claim that Novak – who did no harm or break any law – suddenly became the most is a reviled person of the country?

Rules are rules, Prime Minister Scott Morrison emphasized when he told the raging Twitter crowd that Novak’s visa had been canceled.

Most of us just loved that the Prime Minister was finally standing up for something … But I digress.

Our strict border policy has been instrumental in ensuring that Australia has one of the lowest death rates in the world from Covid, we will continue to be vigilant, he said.

Vigilant in what way? To protect a population plagued by Covid from a healthy man with natural immunity?

The suspicion is that it has more to do with the fact that an election is imminent and that it is good to have an unpopular foreigner to direct the anger of the population at.

Novak’s real crime was that he stood up for himself and thereby exposed our cowardice.

Do not think that Novak is a tennis player who has special privileges. He didn’t.

And don’t think Novak is a selfish athlete who doesn’t respect Australia. He is not.

Think of Novak as a mirror in which we saw an unflattering reflection of ourselves. Our first reaction was to smash the mirror. Then we cheered that the mirror should be put on a plane and sent back to where it came from.

But there is no escaping what we have seen of ourselves – or the misfortune that comes with breaking the mirror.

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