New balls please

Serbian tennis legend Novak Djokovic could have easily avoided becoming embroiled in an international incident by either getting vaccinated or by just turning around at Melbourne Airport and getting on the first flight out of Australia.

Whether he was given inaccurate information by Tennis Australia, who apparently told him he had a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open or he just thought he was a big enough name to sail through, ignoring the county’s strict rules on COVID, I can’t understand why when it became clear that he wasn’t going to be treated differently to anyone else, he elected to stay put and fight it, complaining along the way that he wasn’t being allowed access to his private chef.

Meanwhile normal Aussies, who are subject to some of the most strict lockdown restrictions in the world, are quite rightly more than a bit peeved on a level far above and beyond here in the UK over who had a booze up over Christmas 2020 and who didn’t.

Rules are rules and if he doesn’t agree with them, well as a visitor he has every right to take his talents elsewhere.

With his money I would have just said fair enough pal and hauled ass out of there with the intention of, as the Fleetwood Mac song says, never going back again.

But then again, while my backhand spin is not what it was, I am vaccinated and boosted so it’s double fault Djokovic there.

Or is it that if he can’t get into a country where tennis is one of the national sports, other nations might follow suit and without being vaccinated he may not be allowed into, say, the French Open or other Grand Slam tournaments?

If he does get his visa reinstated and goes on to compete in Australia I can’t see it going down very well in Ramsey Street.

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I’m no fan of little Manny Macron, but thumbs up for his use of everyday language while talking about how he intends to make life as difficult as possible for anyone in France who refuses to vaccinate against COVID-19.

It has not gone down at all well with the French population, who notoriously take umbrage over being told what to do, regardless of whether it’s for their own good. There have been protests across the country against the introduction of a coronavirus pass which effectively bans the unvaccinated from being in public.

Meanwhile the president may well have been given a detention from Madame Macron as a result of his comment and told to write 100 times: je ne dirai pas pisser en public, but his vocabulary certainly made him just that little bit more human in my eyes.

That said, you’re still not getting your boats into our fishing waters mate!

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On January 8, Elvis Presley would have been 87. On the same day, David Bowie would have been 75.

One died a bloated artistically spent shadow of his younger self. The other passed away two days after his 69th birthday and the release of a valedictory 25th album that will stand amongst his very best.

One was pushing the envelope right to the very end, the other was pushing something else entirely when his 42-year old heart gave out.

Do I need to say which is which?

Thought not.

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Football commentary of the week came during the FA Cup third round tie between Hull City and Everton with: “..and the score is Archbishop Desmond. That’s 2-2.

Tutu soon?

Stupid TV quiz answer of the week

The Weakest Link

Q: Kate Winslet and the singer Cheryl both have a child named after which animal?

A: Pig

Edward Case

Columnist