The tennis world reacted with a mixture of silence and disappointment to the news Novak Djokovic He will be deported from Australia after an extraordinary 12 days that ended with a Federal Court decision upholding the revocation of his visa.
Andy Murray was conducting his pre-tournament media tour in Melbourne, a day after reaching the Sydney International Final, at the same moment the outcome of Djokovic’s court proceedings was announced. “Novak is someone I’ve known since we were 12, someone I respect and have competed with. I don’t like him being in this situation and I don’t like that he’s being held,” Murray said. BBC, speaking minutes after the decision.
“It’s never been a good situation for anyone. It seems like everything happened here at the very last minute and that’s why it became such a mess. Hopefully this won’t be the case in other events, so there is no other situation like this. I don’t want that to Novak, I don’t want that for tennis and I hope it can be done now.”
Djokovic’s visa was revoked on Friday by Alex Hawke, the immigration minister, on grounds of “health and good order”. The Serbian had immediately registered an application to the Federal Court for the cancellation of his visa cancellation, but Djokovic’s request was finally rejected on Sunday.
During Saturday’s media day, several of the most prominent players said they were unhappy with the status of Djokovic’s visa, which had grabbed all the attention just days before the Grand Slam. “Honestly, I’m a little tired of the situation because I think it’s important to talk about our sport and tennis,” said Rafael Nadal.
Meanwhile, Emma Raducano notes that she has been overshadowed by events such as Murray’s reaching the Sydney International Final. “I feel it took away a bit of the great tennis that was happening this summer in Australia,” she said on Saturday. Most players chose not to mention Djokovic’s deportation on social media after his sentencing.
Those who spoke out on Sunday tended to be more sympathetic to Djokovic, offering their support when he left the country. Alice Cornet, the No. 1 player in France, noted the lack of reaction from her fellow players: “I know very little to judge the situation. What I know is that Novak is always the first to stand by the players. But none of us have stood by him. Be strong” , wrote on Twitter.
Although he has been a frequent critic of Djokovic over the years, Nick Kyrgios has been one of the world’s most vocal supporters among his peers over the past week. The Australian responded to the ruling with a “palm of the hand” emoji.
Support also came from more predictable sources. Vasek Pospisil, co-founder along with Djokovic Pro Tennis The players’ union (PTPA) and a close friend immediately spoke on behalf of the Serbian, saying that Djokovic was “willing to stay at home” if he did not receive a medical exemption.
“Novak would never have gone to Australia if he had not been granted an exemption to enter the country by the government (which he did; hence Judge Kelly’s initial ruling),” he wrote on Twitter. “He was going to skip Australian Open He was at home with his family and no one would talk about this mess. There was a political agenda on the table here with the upcoming elections that couldn’t be more clear. It’s not his fault.”
Pospisil distorted Judge Kelly’s ruling during Djokovic’s first hearing. The judge ruled Djokovic on a procedural basis due to border officials’ failure to give Djokovic sufficient time to contact his representatives upon arrival at the airport.
Fellow Serbian Miomir Kikmanovic, who was supposed to be Djokovic’s opponent in the first round on Sunday, posted a statement on social media pledging to represent Djokovic in court: “I can’t even imagine how Novak feels, and what he’s been up to over the last 10 days.” “I was very happy to have had the honor of opening this year’s tournament with the first player in the world at Rod Laver Arena. Unfortunately, what I have been thinking for the past seven days from the moment the draw is now made does not make sense.”
In a statement, the ATP referred to the past 12 days as “a series of very unfortunate events”, while lamenting Djokovic’s absence from the Australian Open draw. “We know how turbulent recent days have been for Novak and how much he wants to defend his title in Melbourne. We wish him well and look forward to seeing him again on the field soon. ATP continues to highly recommend vaccination for all players.”
The final day before the start of the Australian Open brought a final reflection on Djokovic’s tremendous impact on the event. The tournament usually releases the playing order on the first day of competition on Saturday in order to give players as much time as possible to prepare for their matches, but this year the draw has been postponed until after 4pm on Sunday.
Djokovic was initially included in Monday’s standings as last night’s game at Rod Laver Arena against Kikmanovic. But by the end of the day, his name was removed from all lists. As Salvatore Caruso, the lucky loser, prepared to take Djokovic’s place in the draw, the world No. 1 climbed on the 10:30pm flight to Dubai and started on his way home.
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