Novak Djokovic’s former coach and multiple grand slam winner Boris Becker has lamented that the men’s world number one had his visa cancelled by Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke but said it serves as a reminder that no player is bigger than the sport.
- The Australian government has cancelled tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time
- The Serbian star has been ordered to attend an interview with immigration officials on Saturday
- The Federal Circuit Court heard he will be returned to detention after that interview
Becker’s reaction was just one of many from the worlds of tennis and politics as Djokovic and his lawyers get set to once again challenge his visa cancellation.
His thoughts seemed to be echoed by three-time grand slam winner Andy Murray, who described Djokovic’s situation as “unfortunate” when asked by reporters after his semi-final win at the Sydney Tennis Classic.
While Murray was measured, former women’s world number one and seven-time grand slam champion Justine Henin said it was likely best if Djokovic simply packed his bags and headed home at this stage.
Former French Open champion and BBC presenter Sue Barker said Djokovic was simply having to face the consequences of his own actions when it came to his refusal to be vaccinated.
Djokovic’s former Serbia Davis Cup teammate Janko Tipsarevic tweeted: “Toxic Shame on each and everyone involved in this process…”
While renowned coach and tennis analyst Darren Cahill said the situation reflected poorly on all involved.
In Australia, the decision also led to plenty of political finger-pointing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he noted Mr Hawke’s decision to cancel the tennis star’s visa.
“I understand that following careful consideration, action has been taken by the Minister to cancel Mr Djokovic’s visa on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Mr Morrison said.
“This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods.”
However, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the saga was a distraction from bigger issues facing the country and accused Mr Morrison of using Djokovic’s visa drama as a distraction.
“[Scott Morrison] has been using this Novak Djokovic saga as a distraction from the shortages in our supermarkets, the shortages in our chemists, the shortages of workers, the uncertainty that people have had over kids’ boosters and the return to school and all the rest of it,” Mr Albanese said.
“But what we have from a government is day after day after day not making a decision where it is now almost 60 days since his visa was granted.”
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd tweeted the Djokovic debacle was “one big political distraction” for the government.
The latest court battle between Djokovic and the federal government is set to resume on Saturday.