Tennis fans among you might have been tracking the Djokovic story that unfolded in a flurry the last couple of weeks. For those of you who don’t follow tennis, a little background. Novak Djokovic is a champion tennis player, regarded as an all-time great. However, Djokovic has repeatedly invited criticism over his actions both on and off the tennis court. Among these is his most recent, highly controversial stance on Covid vaccination: his position was he would not get vaccinated, no matter what. He is one of only three top-100 men’s players to be unvaccinated. Questionable actions have accompanied this stand, including hosting a tennis tournament in Serbia that turned out to be a corona virus super-spreader event.
Then, all of a sudden, things came to a head in a Djokovic versus Australian government standoff over his entry visa.
The Australian open tournament–one of the four major tournaments, or grand slams, of tennis–is held every January, and started on Jan 17 this year. Djokovic was seeded No. 1 for the tournament, and was heavily favored to win it. (Which would have had him pull ahead of the other contemporary tennis greats Federer and Nadal for most number of majors ever won.) Last year, the Australian Open said that participants in this month’s tournament would have to be fully vaccinated, in line with requirements for entering the country. Djokovic’s participation (given that he was unvaccinated) was seen as unlikely, until he was given an exemption by the Australian open authorities on his claim of a recent coronavirus infection. So, on Jan 4 Djokovic said he would play.
On Jan 5, when Djokovic landed in Melbourne after flying from Spain via Dubai, he was stopped at the airport, and questioned for hours. Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia said that Djokovic’s entry had been denied because he was unvaccinated. Government officials said that a previous coronavirus infection was not valid grounds for the vaccination exemption granted by Australian tennis officials and local authorities in Victoria, the state where the tournament is held.
Djokovic was sent to a quarantine hotel, pending deportation from Australia. He filed an appeal to stay and participate in the open. On Jan 10, after Djokovic had spent five days at the hotel, a judge ruled that Djokovic had been treated unfairly at the airport, and reinstated his visa.
But revelations followed pushed Djokovic deeper and deeper into a hole. Records showed that he took a coronavirus test at 1:05 p.m. on Dec 16 in Belgrade, Serbia, and received the positive result seven hours later. But social media posts showed that he had attended two public events on the day he sought his test, and also a tennis event a day later in Belgrade, where he presented awards to children. And a French sports newspaper reporter said that conducted an in-person interview with Djokovic on Dec 18, he did not know that the athlete had just tested positive. Questions also arose over whether Djokovic had made a false statement on his entry form to Australia when he said that he had not traveled internationally in the 14 days before his flight from Spain, but social media posts showed him in Serbia on Christmas Day.
On Jan 14, the Australian immigration minister said in a statement that he was canceling Djokovic’s visa on the grounds of “health and good order,” adding that it was in the public interest to do so. Again, Djokovic’s lawyers appealed. A panel of 3 judges agreed to hear his case on Jan 16, and sided with the minister. Djokovic’s visa was rescinded, and a few hours later he left Australia. He would not compete in the Australian open this year.
As I followed the twists and turns of this improbably story, I got intensely curious to find out just what was happening astrologically with Djokovic’s chart. I did not have any idea of exactly what I would see, but I did expect a dramatic development. An article I read by the eminent tennis reporter Christopher Clarey added fuel to the fire. Under the title, “An Unplayed Australian Open Is a Turning Point for Novak Djokovic”, Clarey wrote: “..it would come as no surprise if Sunday marked a turning point”. Something much bigger appeared to be happening to Djokovic, of which this particular controversy is a telling symptom.
Here is Djokovic’s natal chart:
There’s a backstory here, of Djokovic’s years long proclivity for strange beliefs. “He has received scrutiny for his unscientific beliefs, including support for a claim that positive emotions can purify toxic water or food.” “He has long been a spiritual dabbler, with a weakness for what some regard as quackery.” In a YouTube video, Djokovic is shown onstage with Spanish tennis coach Pepe Imaz talking about the “need to be able to look inwards, and establish this connection with a divine light.” Djokovic did several Instagram chats with the wellness guru Chervin Jafarieh, and in one of them he said: “I know some people that, through energetical transformation, through the power of prayer, through the power of gratitude, they managed to turn the most toxic food, or maybe the most polluted water, into the most healing water, because the water reacts.” You hear the voice of Neptune in all of this, loud and clear. What’s Neptune up to in his natal chart?
As it turns out, Neptune is up to a lot of things! It is square the all-important Moon, is opposite Mars, and is trine Venus. Neptune is all over the place, and is a huge influence on his emotional life (Moon), his competitiveness as an athlete (Mars), and his capacity to relate (Venus).
The Moon-square-Neptune is known to be highly imaginative, but on the flip side, gullible, and prone to misunderstandings, questionable judgment calls, and tendency to see things that aren’t quite there. It explains much of his beliefs about fantastical things that don’t have a scientific basis.
Venus as ruler of the 4th house (IC) (Taurus on the cusp) also brings in his deepest sense of family-his immediate kin, his tribe, his culture, his country, and the world at large– and as ruler of the 9th house (Libra on the cusp) signifies his worldview. And the trine of this Venus to Neptune makes him comfortable (he gets comforted) with a Neptunian perception of the world–imaginative, magical, illusory.
Mars is inherently the athlete, and ruler of the Aries 3rd house of the mind and mindset. When he plays (Mars), he is in the sway of Neptune through the opposition. Audiences around the world generally favor his competitor over him–when he is playing Roger Federer, and they chant “Roger, Roger, Roger”, he imagines hearing his name instead (creative Venus in 3rd house of mind trine imaginative Neptune) which spurs him to keep fighting (Mars).
The same Neptune is capable of tremendous aspects of empathy, charity, and forgiveness. Djokovic is known for being a genuinely warm person off court, and he goes out of his way to praise his opponents even after he loses to them. Neptune touches something deep in him (Moon) that brings out a quality of selflessness, and he is able to express this via the Venus-Neptune trine.
Now, what was happening in the first two weeks of January, when all hell broke loose? Here’s the transit chart for 6:30 pm on Jan 16, in Melbourne Australia (around the time the judges issued a ruling revoking his visa), overlaid on Djokovic’s natal chart:
Immediately you see transiting Uranus at 10 Tau 50 near Venus and the IC. This is big. In previous posts I have shown how the transits (and solar arcs) of the outer planets to the angles can be life transforming. And here we have transiting Uranus in the “danger zone” of the IC. Moreover, it is also conjunct Venus, which rules the IC. So this is a two-for-one hit, impacting both the IC and Venus. The whole thing broke and concluded inside of two weeks, which is typical of Uranus–bolt out of the blue, sudden impact, abrupt and unexpected reversals. No one could have seen this coming even as late as end of December, least of all Djokovic
With the impact to Venus, it also by transitivity brings in Neptune, through the Venus-trine-Neptune aspect. So Neptunian dimensions come into play–the confusion, the back and forth, the delayed revelations of Djokovic’s false statements and misreported actions, etc. Moreover, Venus as the ruler of the 9th house brings in the aspect of internationalism through the standoff with the Australian government over an entry visa.
A word about the IC. One sports journalist said about this big mess: “Djokovic has done potentially irreparable harm to his own image.” The ascendant is the image that an individual presents to the persons they meet one-on-one. The MC is the image of the person in the world, their status and reputation as seen from afar by the world at large, while the IC is the self-image, a deep sense of who one is, where one comes from, the roots and heritage that are propagated through the person’s life. Uranus transiting to the IC clearly signifies a self-image under stress, a shock to the system, that will surely have Djokovic question who he is and what is his place in the world.
In hindsight, the visa issue and deportation can be reasonably related to the transiting Uranus. But would an astrologer have predicted this beforehand? Surely, the approaching transit of Uranus to the IC could be seen ahead of time, but you would be hard pressed to predict the exact events that transpired. It’s one thing to predictively pick between clearly defined choices (e.g. will candidate X or candidate Y win the election) but quite another to predict a very specific scenario out of many possibilities in which circumstances might unfold.
Uranus transiting the IC could presage home relocation, or marriage, or divorce, or child birth, or death of a parent, etc. The best course for an astrologer would be to suggest possibilities arising out of an amplification of the symbols: Uranus is abrupt change that brings about an awakening, the IC is one’s deep rooted sense of self. So the transit could be expected to bring about a sudden change that deeply impacts the self and awakens the individual to their place in the world.
Using these, and keeping in mind the life circumstance of the individual (e.g. a teenager is not going to have the same choices as a middle-aged person), there could be a narrowing down on the options. Bottom line, it is more important for the individual to be fully aware of the symbolic significations beforehand so that when the events come to pass during the transit, they can make the most sense out of it and engage in the best way possible.