‘I won’t kick Novak when he’s down’: Andy Murray refuses to stick the boot in to Djokovic after decision to cancel his visa and deport him from Australia but British star admits it ‘isn’t a good situation for anyone’
Djokovic is set to be kicked out of the country on the eve of the Australian Open after his visa was cancelled for a second time.
The unvaccinated Djokovic has been denied the chance to compete for a 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne after government officials concluded he may pose a health risk to the community.
Andy Murray said he ‘wouldn’t kick Novak Djokovic whilst he is down’ after the Serbian world No 1 saw his Australian visa cancelled
Australia has cancelled Novak Djokovic ‘s visa for a second time, the country’s immigration minister announced on Friday. Pictured: Djokovic rests during a training session at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 14, 2022
And Djokovic, 34, a nine-time Australian Open champion, may not be seen at the event for some time as he could be barred from a new visa for three years.
But Murray, who advanced to the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic on Friday, said: ‘It’s not a good situation. I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak whilst he’s down.
‘I mean, I said it the other day, it’s not a good situation for anyone.
‘It’s unfortunate that it’s ended up in this sort of situation, and who knows? I don’t know what the process is from now.
‘I don’t know what route he goes down, if he can appeal that and how long that takes, and can he still be out practising whilst that process is going on or still competing in the tournament?’
Djokovic stands at a booth of the Australian Border Force at the airport in Melbourne, Australia as he arrived in the country on January 5
He added: ‘I just want it obviously to get resolved. I think it could be good for everyone if that was the case.
‘It just seems like it’s dragged on for quite a long time now and it’s not great for tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak.
‘Obviously a lot of people have criticised the government here, as well. It’s not been good.’
Earlier this week, Murray admitted he had some sympathy for Djokovic, who he has known since junior days, after he was detained by the Australian Border Force after his arrival in the country.
‘I think everyone is shocked by it, to be honest,’ Murray said last weekend.
Andy Murray has reached his first ATP Tour-level final since October 2019 after his latest win
‘I’m going to say two things on it just now. The first thing is that I hope that Novak is OK. I know him well, and I’ve always had a good relationship with him and I hope that he’s OK.
‘The second thing, it’s really not good for tennis at all, and I don’t think it’s good for anyone involved. I think it’s really bad.’
Others in the tennis world haven’t been as sympathetic to Djokovic.
Stefanos Tsitsipas accused Djokovic of ‘playing by his own rules’ and putting the whole Australian Open ‘at risk’ by not being vaccinated against Covid.
And Wimbledon quarter-finalist Marton Fucsovics said Djokovic had no right to be in Australia at all.
The Djokovic visa saga is unlikely to be finished despite this latest decision.
The decision to again cancel his visa over COVID-19 entry regulations raises the prospect of a possible second court battle by the Serbian tennis star to be allowed to stay and play in the Open starting on Monday.
Djokovic and Murray have known each other since junior days and get on well
A source close to Djokovic’s team confirmed to Reuters that he is considering the decision and weighing his options, with video on Friday purportedly showing a car – believed to be carrying the player – arriving at his lawyer’s officers.
Djokovic, the Australian Open defending champion, was included in the tournament’s draw on Thursday as top seed and was due to face fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic for his opening match, probably on Monday or Tuesday.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S AUSTRALIAN OPEN SAGA
Novak Djokovic’s defence of his Australian Open title remains in doubt after Australian immigration officials cancelled his visa for the second time.
Djokovic’s lawyers are expected to challenge the dramatic decision taken by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday, the day after the nine-time champion was drawn to face Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.
Here’s how the saga has unfolded:
Jan 4: Djokovic tweets that he is on his way to the Australian Open under a medical exemption. He writes on Instagram: ‘I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!!’
Jan 5: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns Djokovic he will be on the ‘next plane home’ if his medical exemption is deemed insufficient, and is adamant Djokovic will not receive preferential treatment.
Jan 5: Djokovic’s visa is cancelled upon his arrival in Melbourne. The Australian Border Force announces that the player ‘failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements for Australia’.
Jan 6: Djokovic is sent to the Park Hotel in Melbourne after being refused a visa. He launches an appeal, which is adjourned until 10am on January 10. Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic says Djokovic is the victim of ‘persecution’.
Jan 9: Djokovic’s lawyers claim he was granted a vaccine exemption to enter Australia because he recorded a positive Covid-19 test in Serbia on December 16. However, social media posts suggest he attended a number of social events in the days following his apparent diagnosis.
Jan 10: Djokovic’s visa cancellation is quashed by Judge Anthony Kelly, who orders the Australian Government to pay legal costs and release Djokovic from detention within half-an-hour. Djokovic says he is ‘pleased and grateful’ and wishes to ‘stay and try to compete’.
Jan 11: Djokovic’s title defence remains in doubt as the Australian Immigration Minister ponders whether to over-ride the court’s ruling, reportedly due to an alleged misleading claim made by Djokovic on his entry form relating to his movements in the 14 days prior to arrival in Australia.
Jan 12: Djokovic admits making an ‘error of judgement’ by attending an interview with a French journalist while Covid positive. He adds that, although he attended a children’s tennis event the day after being tested, he did not receive notification of the positive test until after the event.
Jan 13: Djokovic is drawn to face fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.
Jan 14: Immigration minister Minister Alex Hawke cancels Djokovic’s visa for a second time, saying in a statement it was ‘on health and good order grounds’.
Reporting by PA