Tennis staffer can’t stomach Novak Djokovic being in Melbourne



Gardiner believes a decision that has the Serbian returning to Europe will be the right one.

“I can’t really think there’s much public support for him on this,” said Gardiner, who worked in several roles in Australian Open merchandising between 1988 and 2007.

“The people that I talk to, just people involved with my local sporting clubs, which incorporate cricket, tennis and football, the overwhelming consensus was, ‘bugger him, we don’t want him here’.

“He’s never managed to endear himself with the general public that much anyway.”


The pandemic has influenced Gardiner’s life in a number of ways. He has been in a long-term, but long-distance relationship with his American partner.

But Australia’s closed borders during COVID-19 meant he hasn’t seen her in more than two years.

Gardiner added: “[And] my mother is 93 and is in an aged care facility, and we have been greatly limited as to how we can interact with her.

“I have also been waiting for some much-needed hand surgery, which has been delayed several times.

“I understand the need for restrictions and for rules relating to vaccinations, masking, density limits and so, which of course are designed or should be to prevent hospitals overflowing.

“[But] we need famous people trying to do more to assist the common good and granting an exemption to Novak, who has a history of anti-vax sentiment and disregard for common-sense health advice, in no way helps do anything in encouraging people to heed sensible health advice.”