He has been detained amid growing hostility towards people who appear to be unjabbed. Even fame could not protect him
This weekend, Novak Djokovic should have been warming up for yet another grand slam.
But instead the world No 1 tennis champion – and noted vaccine sceptic – is cooling his heels in an Australian quarantine hotel, while an international row rages over whether he should be kicked out of the country altogether. Djokovic had boasted on social media of securing an exemption, for medical reasons he has not explained, to the rules that all players in the Australian Open must be double-jabbed. But hours later he was stopped at the airport, his visa cancelled, and he was unceremoniously threatened with deportation. His lawyers are challenging that ruling, meaning the outcome of this particular tournament may now be determined in a court – rather than on one. Not since the actor Johnny Depp and his then wife, Amber Heard, flew their two dogs, Pistol and Boo, into the country by private jet without the necessary paperwork has the power of celebrity met the force of Australian biosecurity requirements with quite such explosive results.
Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist