Tennis champ Novak Djokovic has already run afoul of many of his fans' tempers for his refusal to get vaccinated in advance of the Australian Open—and doing so with such adamance the issue has ended up before an Australian judge.
But now the athlete's father is taking things to a whole new level of absurdity—comparing the consequences of Djokovic's refusal to adhere to basic public health protections to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Yes, he actually said this, straight-faced, without irony, during a recent press conference.
Novak Djokovic and the Australian government have been locked in a row after the country's Border Force denied the tennis star's medical exemption visa, which would have allowed him to skirt the Australian state of Victoria's COVID-19 vaccination requirements, just days before the Australian Open was set to begin.
The Border Force determined that his Victoria exemption in Victoria did not meet the requirements of the country's federal government, and he has been detained since his arrival in Melbourne on January 5.
For a tennis player, especially one ranked #1 in the world like Djokovic, this is potentially catastrophic as the Australian Open, which began Sunday, is one of the four yearly all-important Grand Slam tennis tournaments held each year.
Of course, one could argue that Djokovic has no one to blame for this but himself: He could have just gotten vaccinated like everyone else was required to do.
But that wasn't relevant to Djokovic's father, Srdan, who told the assembled press that his son not being permitted to make his own rules in a foreign country during a deadly pandemic was right up there with Jesus Christ being tortured to death via crucifixion by the Roman state.
Or as Srdan Djokovic put it:
“Jesus was crucified and endured many things but is still alive among us. Novak is also crucified... the best sportsman and man in the world. He will endure.”
Again, we reiterate: All he had to do was get vaccinated. But okay! Srdan Djokovic then went on to next compare his son to the legendary Roman gladiator Spartacus.
“Tonight they can throw him in a dungeon, tomorrow they can put him in chains. The truth is he is like water and water paves its own path. Novak is the Spartacus of the new world which won’t tolerate injustice, colonialism and hypocrisy."
As mixed metaphors go, this is definitely one of the weirdest--and most melodramatic.
Also, can someone please give Srdan a memo that refusing to respect the sovereignty of a country of which you are not a citizen while also endangering their literal, actual lives is pretty much exactly what colonialism is? Sorry "Spartacus"!
Many Australians' patience for Djokovic was already paper-thin given that they've had to endure some of the longest lockdowns on Earth over the past couple years, but this whole Jesus thing took things to a whole new level, and the Djokovics got dragged to filth on Twitter.
Anyway, executed religious and political leader Jesus Christ of Nazareth--er, sorry, tennis player Novak Djokovic--is currently in court in Australia as of this writing, where his fate in this year's Australian Open will be determined.