The tennis world reacted with a combination of silence and disappointment to the information that Novak Djokovic can be deported from Australia after a unprecedented 12 days concluded with the federal court docket’s determination to uphold the cancellation of his visa.
Andy Murray was conducting his pre-tournament media rounds in Melbourne, a day after his run to the ultimate of the Sydney Worldwide, on the precise second that the result of Djokovic’s court docket proceedings was introduced. “Novak is somebody I’ve recognized since we have been 12 years outdated, he’s somebody who I respect and have competed in opposition to. I don’t like that he’s on this scenario and I don’t like that he has been in detention,” mentioned Murray to the BBC, talking minutes after the choice.
“The scenario has not been good all spherical for anybody. It feels every thing right here occurred extraordinarily last-minute and that’s why it turned such a mess. Hopefully that gained’t be the case at different occasions so there isn’t any different scenario like this. I wouldn’t need that for Novak, don’t need that for tennis and hopefully it’s finished now.”
Djokovic’s visa had been cancelled on Friday by Alex Hawke, the immigration minister, on “well being and good order” grounds. The Serb had instantly registered an software to the federal court docket so as to have his visa cancellation overturned, however Djokovic’s software was lastly dismissed on Sunday.
Throughout Saturday’s media day, lots of the most distinguished gamers mentioned they have been dissatisfied by how Djokovic’s visa standing had consumed all consideration simply days earlier than the grand slam. “Truthfully, I’m little bit uninterested in the scenario as a result of I simply consider that it’s vital to speak about our sport, about tennis,” mentioned Rafael Nadal.
Emma Raducanu, in the meantime, identified that occasions equivalent to Murray’s run to the ultimate of the Sydney Worldwide have been being overshadowed. “I really feel it has taken away a little bit from the good tennis that’s been occurring over this summer time in Australia,” she mentioned on Saturday. Most gamers selected not to tackle Djokovic’s deportation on social media after his verdict.
Those that spoke publicly on Sunday tended to be extra sympathetic in the direction of Djokovic, providing their assist as he left the nation. Alize Cornet, the French ladies’s No 1, famous the dearth of response from her fellow gamers: “I do know too little to decide the scenario. What I do know is that Novak is at all times the primary one to stand for the gamers. However none of us stood for him. Be robust,” she wrote on twitter.
Regardless of having been a frequent critic of Djokovic over time, Nick Kyrgios has been one of many world No 1’s most vocal supporters amongst his friends over the previous week. The Australian responded to the decision with a “facepalm” emoji.
Help additionally got here from extra predictable sources. Vasek Pospisil, the co-founder alongside Djokovic of the Skilled Tennis Gamers Affiliation (PTPA) and a shut pal, instantly spoke for the Serb, stating that Djokovic was “prepared to keep house” if he had not acquired a medical exemption.
“Novak would by no means have gone to Australia if he had not been given an exemption to enter the nation by the federal government (which he did obtain; therefore Choose Kelly’s preliminary ruling),” he wrote on Twitter. “He would have skipped the Australian Open and been house together with his household and nobody can be speaking about this mess. There was a political agenda at play right here with the elections arising which couldn’t be extra apparent. This isn’t his fault.”
Pospisil misrepresented the decision of Choose Kelly throughout Djokovic’s first listening to. The decide had dominated for Djokovic on a procedural foundation due to border officers failing to give Djokovic enough time to contact his representatives upon his arrival on the airport.
His fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, who was supposed to be Djokovic’s opponent within the first spherical on Sunday, posted a assertion on social media during which he pledged to signify Djokovic on the court docket: “I can’t even think about how Novak feels, what he has been by means of for the final 10 days. I used to be very joyful to have the honour of opening this 12 months’s event with the primary participant within the world on Rod Laver Enviornment. Sadly, what I’ve been occupied with for the final seven days from the second the draw was made now is senseless.”
In a assertion, the ATP referred to the previous 12 days as “a deeply regrettable collection of occasions,” whereas lamenting the absence of Djokovic within the Australian Open draw. “We all know how turbulent the current days have been for Novak and how a lot he needed to defend his title in Melbourne. We want him properly and look ahead to seeing him again on court docket quickly. ATP continues to strongly suggest vaccination to all gamers.”
The ultimate day earlier than the beginning of the Australian Open introduced one closing reflection of Djokovic’s outsized affect over the occasion. The event usually releases its order of play for the primary day of competitors on Saturday so as to give gamers as a lot time as potential to put together for his or her matches, however this 12 months the draw was pushed again till after 4pm on Sunday.
Djokovic was initially included in Monday’s order of play because the final evening match on Rod Laver Enviornment in opposition to Kecmanovic. However by the tip of the day, his identify had been scrubbed from all lists. As Salvatore Caruso, a fortunate loser, ready to take Djokovic’s spot within the draw, the world No 1 boarded the ten:30pm flight to Dubai and began on his manner again house.