June 19, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Video: A gathering of supporters – of all kinds – at the Park Hotel

MELBOURNE, Australia – The scenes in front of the rundown Park Hotel, just north of downtown Melbourne in the Carlton area, have been pretty compelling these days.

The biggest takeaway from all the media attention is that the plight of the refugees into the hotel – some of whom have been people without a country for nearly 10 years – is getting a lot more attention.

But the most famous detainee in a roach motel where they actually sealed all the windows, once it was taken over by the government as an immigration detention centre, is the No. 1 player in the world.

One of the supporters there told Open Court that at the old place, some of the refugees were passing notes out of the small openings in the windows. That’s why they sealed them.

I mean …

That’s why Djokovic was spotted waving from the window, even if a lot of the rooms appear to have balconies.

Here’s what it looked like.

Djokovic will be in there until at least Monday, when his appeal of a visa cancellation/deportation order will be heard.

The stakes are high. If he doesn’t win his appeal, he will be deported. And the period of time where he can’t re-enter Australia in that instance could be as much as three years.

That’s three Australian Opens he won’t have a chance to win. That’s something that changes the course of tennis history.

The Serb’s fans have come out every day – more later in the evening than during the day, after work.

And as it happens, it’s Christmas weekend in the Serb orthodox religion, too.

With them, at least on this Friday, were a group of local anti-vaccination advocates who took advantage of the opportunity to have a little rally.

It didn’t really pick up any steam. But they were there.

Contrasting missions co-exist

Everyone co-existed remarkably well. Although the supporters of the refugees are kind of the mindset that, yeah, great to have you – but we know you’ll forget all about us by next week.

Someone had a huge banner of Djokovic made up – it must have cost a significant amount of money.

When one of the kids supporting the refugees decided to plant himself right in front of it as the media were shooting video (have a little respect, kid – it’s not about you), some of the Serbs gently tried to nudge him over to the side. They asked for five minutes; he didn’t go far, though.

There were a LOT of media on hand. Some of them were getting some pretty rude things said to them, to be honest.

Blaming the media is such a cliché.

Your Open Court correspondant had at least a dozen … intriguing conversations. Some were with the Djokovic fans. They were great.

Some of the anti-vaxxers could learn a few manners and lessons in civility.

But the one tennis fan/anti-vaxxer who was trying to meet any of the attractive women who showed up by asking, “Hey, darlin’, do you play tennis too?”, didn’t even care that it was the worst pickup line ever.

We’re not sure he swung successfully. But he was dedicated.

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