Like a crazy Omicron tinted rendition of Lanigan’s Ball, it appears that Novak Djokovic is out again.  Out of the tournament and heading out of the country.

Overnight Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke played a backhand that the Serbian reigning Champion appears unlikely to be able to return.

“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Hawke.

With crowd numbers reduced at the Australian Open to counter rising case numbers, Djokovic was facing a very steep uphill battle to win his right to stay and play that had been granted on a technicality but which increasingly looked untenable as further stories and proof emerged of his being loose with the facts of his application and the seriousness with which he treated the risks of the virus.

83 per cent of the Australian population said that they thought he should be kicked out and that is higher than the vaccination rate in the country.

From a political perspective there was little alternative, and leaving it late means the options for Djokovic to continue to appeal ahead of Monday’s tournament start are very limited.

He has been invited to a meeting with immigration officials on Saturday morning, our evening time, but his likely next stop after that will be the airport.

The tournament will carry on regardless.  it will be no different than if he had pulled a calf muscle and had to withdraw.  What it does to his personal legacy will emerge over time but it is unlikely to be burnished outside the borders of his own country.

The basics are that he was either deliberately or inadvertently less than truthful in his application for the Visa, he knew and understood what his vaccination decision would mean and if he was positive in December he was reckless in attending photoshoots and mingling with others while he was infectious.

“Oh what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”