Novak Djokovic defended in Australian Open visa row – ‘Been treated like a drug smuggler’

Novak Djokovic facing anxious wait over Australia visa appeal

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Novak Djokovic has been defended by former Serbia head coach Bogdan Obradovic as the fallout from his visa controversy continues to rumble on. The world No 1 was recently granted a vaccine exemption ahead of the Australian Open. However, the Australian government have since blocked him from competing and forced him to stay in a quarantine hotel.

The Australian Open made it clear from the start that anybody who didn’t have the jab wouldn’t be allowed to compete.

However, they then appeared to u-turn on their stance when they granted Djokovic a medical exemption into the competition.

Since then, however, it’s all kicked off.

Djokovic and his father flew to Australia but they were held in the airport for several hours before border officials announced he hadn’t met entry rules.

He’s since been taken to a government detention hotel, with a court set to decide on his deportation on Monday.

Tennis organisers had said two independent medical panels organised by Tennis Australia and Victoria State had given Djokovic the green light to defend his crown.

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Yet there’s been a huge backlash in the country, where 90 per cent of those over the age of 16 have got the job.

One person who thinks Djokovic is being unfairly treated is former Serbia coach Obradovic who, in an interview with Meridian Sport, accused Australia of treating the world No 1 like a drug smuggler.

“All this has no connection with sports, it is a matter of politics, a new world order is being created,” he said.

“Much bigger experts than me will confirm that in the future, from a scientific point of view.

“The way they treated Novak Djokovic is scandalous.

“Taking away his phone, the way they detained him using two cars, like he’s a drug smuggler, rather than the best athlete of all time.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to the Djokovic controversy on Thursday.

And he insisted ‘no one is above the rules’, saying: “Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled.

“Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders.

“No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.”

Rafael Nadal is one of the players hoping to win the Australian Open this year.

And the Spaniard has fired shots at Djokovic over his vaccine stance, while acknowledging the situation was bad for everybody involved.

“Of course what’s happening is not good for no one in my opinion,” Nadal said.

“But I can’t have a clear opinion on everything because I don’t have all the details honestly.

“Seems some rough situation, but at the end of the day the only thing that I can say is we have been going through very challenging and a lot of families have been suffering a lot during the last two years with all the pandemic.

“I mean it’s normal that the people here in Australia get very frustrated with the case because they have been going through a lot of very hard lockdowns, and a lot of people were not able to come back home.

“From my point of view, that’s the only thing that I can say is I believe in what the people who knows about medicine says, and if the people says that we need to get vaccinated, we need to get the vaccine.

“I went through the COVID. I have been vaccinated twice. If you do this, you don’t have any problems to play here. That’s the only clear thing.

“The rest of the things, I don’t want to have or to give to you an opinion that I don’t have the whole information.

“The only for me clear thing is if you are vaccinated, you can play in the Australian Open and everywhere, and the world in my opinion have been suffering enough to not follow the rules.”

Djokovic could even face a three-year ban from Australia.

And that would be a hammer blow to a player who has won the Grand Slam nine times over the years, with his first triumph coming back in 2008.

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