Like you, I am hugely enjoying the Novak Djokovic drama Down Under. What’s not to like? It is extremely funny. Quite possibly the world’s healthiest man has been deemed a danger to public health in a nation where two thirds of adults are overweight or obese by a government that has, at various points over the last two years, done a more than passable impression of having gone completely nuts.
For people who think the unvaccinated are essentially the walking dead and should be treated as such, what is happening to him is richly deserved. For these people, the men’s number one tennis player is an irritating narcissist whose comeuppance will hopefully serve as an example to anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them, and who shows disregard for the burden they might place on the healthcare providers upon whom we all rely.
But for the anti-vax brigade, Djokovic has suddenly become the idealised exemplar of their worldview – not only a genius with the racket, but an unvaccinated possessor of a mind capable of seeing through the endless propaganda put out by the global medical-industrial complex. He’s a man brave enough to think for himself and to take a stand, no matter the personal cost.
I very much hope he wins the Australian Open when it finally starts next week. I want him to win because, like everyone else, I’m so heartily sick of every aspect of this pandemic. In my mind, Djokovic now represents not just the human vitality the Covid-19 virus is capable of destroying, but also the individual against states everywhere – not just Australia – that have used the crisis to increase and consolidate their power over the people they are meant to serve. I want him to prevail, however highly the odds are stacked against him.