FILE PHOTO: Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practices ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, January 11, 2022. Tennis Australia/Scott Barbour/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
January 14, 2022
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Following are reactions to Australia cancelling Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time on Friday on the grounds that the world tennis number one, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, may pose a health risk.
The move effectively ends his bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Jan. 17-30 Australian Open.
AUSTRALIAN PM SCOTT MORRISON
“I note the Minister for Immigration’s decision in relation to Mr Novak Djokovic’s visa.
“I understand that following careful consideration, action has been taken by the Minister to cancel Mr Djokovic’s visa held on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.
“This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for every Australian but we have stuck together and saved lives and livelihoods.”
FORMER AUSTRALIAN PM KEVIN RUDD
“What a surprise! Morrison’s govt cancels Djokovic’s visa to win the weekend media cycle — showing us all how hairy chested he is. Why on earth did they issue the visa in the first place? One big political distraction from empty shelves & the national shortage of boosters & RATs.”
THREE-TIMES GRAND SLAM CHAMPION ANDY MURRAY
“It’s unfortunate that it’s ended up in this sort of situation, and who knows? I don’t know what route he goes down, if he can appeal that and, you know, how long that takes, and can he still be out practicing whilst that process is going on or still competing in the tournament?
“Just want it to get resolved. I think it would be good for everyone if that was the case. It just seems like it’s dragged on for quite a long time now, and yeah, not great for the tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak.”
OPPOSITION LABOUR LEADER ANTHONY ALBANESE
“(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.
“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.”
SEVEN-TIMES GRAND SLAM CHAMPION JUSTINE HENIN
“I think it’s the best thing he doesn’t play at the moment.
“When something is so complicated, I don’t say that Djokovic doesn’t have to fight, because he thought it was the right thing to do, but I think now it’s been proved that so many Australian people don’t want him to play.
“So maybe it’s better for everyone, for tennis, for the tournament, and maybe for him, that he doesn’t play the tournament.”
DARREN CAHILL, COACH AND FORMER PLAYER
“Fault lies everywhere here. It’s been a mess. Novak, TA, Vic Gov, Federal Gov. It should’ve been a hard rule entering this country considering what the folks have been thru. Get vaccinated and come play the AO, or if not maybe see you in 23′. No wiggle room.”
FORMER SERBIAN TENNIS PLAYER JANKO TIPSAREVIC
“Toxic Shame on each and everyone involved in this process…”
LOU RICCIARDI, FAN AT MELBOURNE PARK TOLD REUTERS
“I do agree with what the government has done. Rules are rules. If you break the rules there are a lot of consequences.
“It’s unfortunate for the Open but … the Open is bigger than just one man. The other players have got to just put up with what’s happened and hope there’s no distractions.
“I feel the government did the right thing to keep us healthy and safe.”
(Compiled by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra, William Maclean, Catherine Evans)