NoVax Djokovic becomes target of mocking memes after deportation saga

John Bishop jokes about Novak Djokovic

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Australian judges rejected a challenge launched by the tennis player, after the government cancelled his visa on “health and good order grounds”. The Australian immigration department initially cancelled the unvaccinated tennis star’s visa, arguing that an acceptance of the player’s vaccination status could encourage anti-vaccine sentiment. The decision means the nine-time champion will not be defending his title at the Australian Open, which begins on Monday.

While some were outraged at the decision, the news also sparked an amused response on Twitter with numerous memes and jokes relating to the issue emerging.

A mock-up of the movie The Terminal – which involves a man stuck in an airport for an extended period of time due to problems with his visa – started trending on the social media platform.

Images of the movie’s promotional poster were shared, with Mr Djocovic edited into it.

Airline company Ryanair also mocked the star by offering him a flight home.

Tho organisation shared a photo of Hawkeye technology, used in televised tennis matches, showing the ball landing outside the sidelines in territory marked “Not Australia”.

They wrote: “Unlucky @DjokerNole. Flight home?”

Journalist Chris Hewitt said that the saga may be “Djokovic’s greatest return”, while others called the player “NoVax” Djokovic.

One user, nicknamed RFInvests edited a photo of Roger Federer’s face onto an immigration authority official, joking that the Swiss tennis player was behind the crisis.

They captioned it: “Live scenes at Melbourne Airport Border Control.. #Federer #Djokovic #AustralianOpen.”

Meanwhile, Jenny Frecklington-Jones shared a video clip from an interview with Mr Federer and fellow tennis player Rafael Nadal, which shows the two men laughing.

She wrote: “He flew all that way and they are sending him straight back home. #DjokovicOut #AustralianOpen2022”

Australian writer and broadcaster Titus O’Reily got involved by sharing an image of a deserted road in Australia, writing: “Novak Djokovic supporters take to the streets of Melbourne.”

Before the final decision had been made over Mr Djokovic’s visa, many Australian residents – which has some of the toughest vaccination rules in the world – were outraged that he may have been able to stay.

Stephen Parnis, former vice-president of the Australian Medical Association, described the possible exemption as “appalling”.

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He said: “I don’t care how good a tennis player he is.

“If he’s refusing to get vaccinated, he shouldn’t be allowed in.

“If this exemption is true, it sends an appalling message to millions seeking to reduce #COVID19Aus risk to themselves & others.

“#Vaccination shows respect, Novak.”

However, others have hit out the ruling.

Greg Barnes SC, a spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers’ Alliance, called the decision “deeply troubling”.

He said: “One of the most dangerous aspects of the Djokovic matter is the preparedness of the federal government to deem someone a risk to public order simply on the basis of what it perceives that person’s views might be.

“This is Orwellian and it is deeply troubling in a society supposedly committed to freedom of speech and freedom of thought”.

Mr Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” but “respects” the ruling.

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