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Novak Djokovic fan who displayed 'inappropriate' banner stopped by Aus Open officials

The security official pointed out that the sign was 'inappropriate' in nature even though the Djokovic fan argued that it had 'no swear words'
UPDATED JAN 11, 2022
The Novak Djokovic fan was allegedly stopped from supporting his idol at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia (Twitter, Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
The Novak Djokovic fan was allegedly stopped from supporting his idol at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia (Twitter, Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

A Novak Djokovic fan who displayed a 'inappropriate' banner to support his idol was stopped by security officials at the Australian Open. Djokovic had entered the Grand Slam without taking the double dose of the Covid-19 vaccinations, saying he had recently tested positive, which he apparently thought was a valid medical exemption to vaccination rules. The athlete had come to Australia to compete at the Open that begins on January 17.

Djokovic’s appeal was heard on Monday, January 10, and judge Anthony Kelly ruled in his favor, saying the border guards' action was "unreasonable" and they should have given enough time to the Serbian tennis player to appeal. The verdict also included the immediate release of Djokovic, the financial bearing of his court costs, and the return of his passport and belongings. But Christopher Tran, who was fighting the case from the government's side, claimed that immigration minister Alex Hawke can probably use his power to send back the tennis ace. If Hawke took that step, it would also lead to banning Djokovic for three years from Australia. 


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Meanwhile, days before the verdict was announced, a tennis fan at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia was told he was not allowed to have Djokovic signs in the venue. "They want to confiscate me A.K.A steal my sign that I paid good money for," the fan was heard saying in a video which was uploaded by Twitter user @TheJuggernaut88 as he was joined by one of the officials from the arena. Most of the conversation he had with the unnamed official was not audible on the video.

When the fan says that he will put the sign away, the official was seen shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head. "I don't trust you mate," he said. When they press on the official to reveal what rule was being broken, the official pointed out that the sign, in question, was inappropriate in nature. The fan and a female companion who was recording the video argued that it was not against the rules as the sign did not contain any swear words. 


One Twitter user uploaded a screenshot of the rules and regulations that mentioned, "Prohibited items for the comfort and safety of patrons and players... in the AO without the express authorization of TA" include "unauthorized promotional, commercial, political, religious or offensive items of whatever nature including clothing, banners, signs, symbols, leaflets, stickers."


'Australia has become a scary place'

While most of the users sided with the fan, accusing the organization of violating his freedom of speech, there were few who thought the security made the right call. "Definitely not a disgrace. Fair call by Tennis Australia security," one of them said, but another commented, "Wowww Australia has become a scary place." A third quipped, "This is a country that has made its citizen's life miserable in the name of border control and public health. They can force Australians to accept dictatorship but not the international community. High time the first slam of the year is moved away from Australia." The next remarked, "Why does @TennisAustralia deem a Novak sign 'inappropriate?' Are they not also pro-Novak? Until 12 hours ago they were bending over backwards to allow him in. Now they threaten to kick out supporters for merely mentioning his name. Farcical."

One more wrote, "What's the difference between this country and China or Belarus? Someone please explain to me." Another noted, "What's next @TennisAustralia? Telling them what clothes to wear? #ShitShowSlam #ShitShowCountry." A commenter tweeted, "They said in Australia you have freedom of speech. Did the government revoke that as well?" One more said, "Absolutely ridiculous. Can’t support your favorite player if that player’s name is Novak?" A person reacted with, "I’m not even a Novak Djokovic fan but this is nothing short of censorship and embarrassing for Australia." Another stated, "I have to pointed out that Novak Djokovic donated $25,000 in 2020 to help Australia during the deadly bushfires. What a …?"