There was an amazing moment during the finals of the 2021 US Open when Novak Djokovic burst into tears. It was clear that he would fall one match short in his valiant effort to complete a calendar year grand slam. But the tears were not caused by sadness. They were caused by the relief that his stressful run had ended, and even more, that after years of being seen by many as a tennis villain and by many more as the third favorite among the unthinkably great tennis trifecta (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic), Novak had finally earned the unbridled love of a crowd that had withheld it for so many years. And his reaction to the moment, breaking down on the world’s stage, showed he was human, which made his achievements to date all the more remarkable. In defeat, a fresh chapter had opened in the career of one of the all time great athletes.

Novak could finally have it all. But Novax wouldn’t let it happen. Instead, held temporarily in a hotel by the Aussie government over a vaccination dispute, Djokovic’s new chapter began with him as perhaps the world’s most famous antivaxxer. Over the weekend, in a decision that could aptly be described as, — Tennis? Anyone! — an Australian court ruled in Novak’s favor, allowing him to enter the country and participate in the Australian Open regardless of his refusal to get vaccinated (although the saga might not be over). According to Aussie rules, Djokovic was relieved of his vaccination requirement because he had recently contracted Covid, which likely left epidemiologists around the world yelling, “You cannot be serious!”

So we have a non-science based rule, poorly implemented, disappointingly (though fairly) enforced, related to a vaccine we should all be thankful we have access to. Traveling the world sans vaccine is like playing a tennis match with a stringless racket. Don’t take my word for it. Just look at Novak, he’s the one who keeps getting (and and possibly spreading) Covid. Of course, I don’t mean to suggest that Novak will be fan-less in his pursuit of the all time grand slam career lead. Among anti-vaxxers, he’s become an outright hero. Sadly, this stubborn movement and its heroes are what makes us all a soft target for a hard winter. And the controversy is far from over. In the latest twist, Novak’s mom suggested her son was subjected to torture. (In fairness, if it were me being held and the hotel had fewer than three stars, my mom would probably argue the same.)

At one point during the hearing in which he allowed Djokovic to enter the country, Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly exasperatedly asked, “The point I’m somewhat agitated about is what more could this man have done?” Answer: The right thing. (Hey, give me a lob and I’m going use my overhead smash.)