Australian Open: Djokovic will take a while to get over ‘unjust’ deportation, says long-time coach

The
20-time
grand
slam
winner
was
denied
the
chance
to
claim
a
record-extending
10th
crown
at
the
Australian
Open
after
having
his
visa
cancelled
on
public
health
grounds.

Despite
being
unvaccinated
against
COVID-19,
Djokovic
had
been
given
a
medical
exemption
to
travel
to
the
country,
only
for
that
to
be
blocked
by
border
officials.

He
won
his
initial
appeal
to
re-approve
his
visa,
but
immigration
minister
Alex
Hawke
used
separate
powers
to
revoke
it
again
and
a
Federal
Court
upheld
the
decision.

The
long-running
case
came
to
an
end
on
Monday
when
Djokovic
arrived
back
in
Serbia,
having
reluctantly
accepted
the
court’s
decision.

But
Vajda,
who
has
been
part
of
Djokovic’s
coaching
team
for
each
of
his
grand
slam
titles,
does
not
agree
with
the
Australian
government’s
handling
of
the
situation.

“I
still
don’t
understand
why
they
did
it
to
him,”
Vajda
told
Slovakian
outlet
Aktuality.

“It
was
an
unhealthy
and
unjust
decision,
based
on
the
assumption
that
Djokovic
could
do
or
influence
something
that
had
not
yet
happened.

“I
can’t
imagine
how
he
handled
it.
It
must
have
been
a
huge
suffering.

“He
humbly
endured
all
measures.
But
what
they
did
to
him
must
mark
him.
It
is
clear
that
it
hit
him
mentally.

“It
will
hurt
him
for
a
long
time
and
it
will
be
difficult
to
get
it
out
of
his
head.
However,
I
know
him
very
well.
Novak
is
strong,
resolute
and
has
not
yet
said
his
last
word
in
tennis.”

In
a
further
blow
for
Djokovic,
who
has
stood
firm
on
his
refusal
to
be
vaccinated,
it
emerged
this
week
that
the
Serbian
may
also
miss
the
France
Open
later
this
year.

That
is
after
stringent
laws
were
passed
in
France
ahead
of
May’s
tournament
at
Roland
Garros
that
will
make
proof
of
vaccination
status
mandatory
to
enter
sporting
arenas.

“I
don’t
understand
this,”
Vajda
added.
“Why
is
it
important
for
them
to
announce
this
now
about
the
tournaments
that
will
take
place
in
May?

“The
world
doesn’t
even
know
what
will
happen
to
the
pandemic
in
a
month.

“I
do
not
want
to
underestimate
the
whole
situation.
It
is
serious
in
the
world.
But
what
is
the
purpose
of
discussing
it
now
in
January?
Is
it
still
about
sport?”

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