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opinion

MELBOURNE (AP) – Locked in a dispute over his COVID-19 vaccination status, Novak Djokovic was confined to an immigration hotel in Australia on Thursday as the No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world awaited a court ruling on whether he can compete in the Australian Open later this month.

Friday, 5 a.m. – Finish 2,000 jumping jacks. Best jumping jacks ever. Bow to all directions. No clapping. If you do so many jumping jacks and no applause, did jumping jacks happen at all?

5:30 – Call down for masseur. No answer. They must be busy massaging other refugees. Will call again in 30 seconds.

5:30:30 – Nothing.

5:31:00 – Nothing.

5:31:30 – Nothing.

5:31:45 – Phone the police instead. So much yelling. Maybe just wait.

6:00 – Still no massage. If masseurs are this busy, how hard is it to book appointment for cryotherapy?

6:45 – Grapefruit for breakfast. That’s 11(!) grams of carbs. But seems rude not to eat it after room-service guy agrees to give massage.

7:30 – Spend half-hour discussing situation with my racquet. Not productive discussion.

8:00 – Phone personal assistant, Ivan, to go over day’s itinerary. Ivan says calendar is pretty open. Suggests I do jumping jacks. Lots of laughing in background. Splashing sounds, like at beach. Suspect Ivan is not as unvaccinated as he’s told me.

9:30 – 5,134 jumping jacks. New world record. Again.

10:00 – Border Force agent Bruce drops by for a chat. Tells me I can leave any time. I say, “Bruce, you do not understand how the heart of a lion works. The lion does not get on Lear jet when things get hard, no matter how amazing is Lear jet. By the way, any chance you can get my weighted blanket and anti-ageing eye cream from jet? It really helps with bedtime ritual.” Hard to hear Bruce’s answer through hazmat suit. Still, better discussion than with racquet.

10:30 – Finish polishing third Wimbledon trophy. Or maybe fourth. Hard to keep track. Bruce sitting on the bed, flipping through channels. He says, “Oy, what you got there?” I say, “Trophies, Bruce.” Bruce laughs, like he does not understand Novak. Maybe Bruce doesn’t bring his trophies on work trips like a normal person? Maybe this is why Bruce doesn’t win so many things.

11:30 – Finish writing victory speech. Read it over phone to Ivan. He says, “Very great. But maybe you should take out part about how you are now new king of Australia.” Good note. Ask Bruce to check grammar. Hard to hold red pencil with rubber gloves. But Bruce is a warrior, like me.

Noon – Lunch is breaded veal on bread with bread salad on side. Sigh. Stare hard at glass of water, using the power of my mind to infuse it with vitamins. Still tastes like regular water, but much more filling.

1:00 – Dad calls. Lots more yelling. Something about riots. I tell him, “Dad, I’m fine. I’ve got Ivan and Bruce. If I had chiropractor, strength coach, personal shopper, astrologer and strong man waving palm frond, it would be just like home.”

2:00 – Staring out window. Watch someone across the street from hotel trying to pull into parking space front first. Many tries. Very frustrating. Where is this person’s chauffeur? He has the day off or what?

2:30 – Prime Minister of Australia calls me. We chitchat for few minutes. Then he says, “Isn’t this Rafael?” I say, “No, this is Novak you’re talking to.” And he says, “Sorry mate, I thought I’d rung Rafa,” and hangs up. Put line about king back in speech.

2:45 – Serbia president calls. Let it go to voicemail. Too many presidents for one day.

3:45 – Wake up from nap. First nap in 33-and-a-half years. Could get used to this.

4:30 – Bruce drops by again. Shows me photo on his phone of Prime Minister of Australia lying on couch covered by what for sure looks like Novak’s weighted blanket. Text Ivan. Tell him to mail copy of Geneva Conventions on very fast post. This is for sure a crime.

5:30 – Conference call with lawyers. Doesn’t sound so good for deportation hearing. Try to take notes, but hard to follow. So much splashing in background.

6:00 – One more time, Ivan has ticked the box for meatloaf for dinner. I keep telling him, “Ivan, meatloaf is just bread. They say ‘meat’ to fool you. Read the whole thing before you put the little checkmark in.” But Ivan doesn’t learn. Must stop hiring cousins.

7:30 – One more time I have napped. This is amazing!

8:00 – Rooting through luggage looking for French Open trophy. Find book Ivan must have packed in there by mistake. The Wish by Nicholas Sparks. Well, nothing else to do.

11:00 – Can’t stop crying. But good crying.

11:15 p.m. – Ivan texts: “U up?” Ten seconds later, “Oops wrong #.”

11:30 p.m. – Border Force agent Bruce comes by to tuck me in. Says they have Lear jet warming up on the tarmac to take me home whenever I like. Even got me another weighted blanket just for legs. I say, “No thank you, Bruce. Really enjoying a little break from reality.”