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First reactions to Craig Tiley’s quotes suggest that Djokovic’s presence in Melbourne may be unpopular
Djokovic currently faces a three-year ban from entering Australia after his controversial deportation earlier this year
Djokovic was not allowed to participate in the 2022 edition after he was deported out of Australia due to issues with his visa, as a non-vaccinated person. As a result, the 21-time Grand Slam champion faces an automated three-year ban from entering the country again.
However, with the entry rules into Australia changing and no longer requiring a vaccination, there is hope that Djokovic’s ban could be overturned, and that he could be allowed to play in the 2023 Australian Open.
During the recent Laver Cup, the Serb himself said he was hoping to hear some good news related to his situation while Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley last week said that he hoped that all of the world’s best players would be in attendance in 2023.
However, first reactions reported in the country show that the player who has won more Australian Open titles than any other male player in history may not be welcome.
The most direct opposition yet comes from Australia’s Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Karen Andrews, who has come out and opposed the overturning of Djokovic’s ban, saying that there are many others who are in the same position that Djokovic finds himself in and that the Serb should not be given preference only because of his celebrity status.
“It would be a slap in the face for those people in Australia who did the right thing, got vaccinated, did everything that they needed to do, if all of a sudden Novak Djokovic is allowed back into the country, simply because he is a high-ranking tennis player with many millions of dollars,” Andrews said during an interview with ABC Radio Melbourne. “So if immigration now chooses to make a special announcement for Novak Djokovic, the obvious question is what are you going to do about anyone else in similar circumstances?” Andrews continued.
I would be concerned if all of a sudden the government says it’s okay for you to come in.Australia’s Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews
“I don’t think there is any reason it should be overturned simply because someone has a lot of money,” Andrews added. “So the government would clearly need to look at everyone else in these circumstances who would have had a visa cancelation and see whether or not they should be allowed into the country as well. It shouldn’t be one rule for Novak Djokovic and a different rule for everyone else who is not worth millions.”
Andrews went on to suggest that there were a number of factors that led to the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa and his deportation, including his behaviuour when he tested positive, and that it would be a bit conerning if the goverment suddently decided to change their stance.
“It was a valid reason for cancelation because the court upheld the cancelation. But we all remember that there were a whole range of circumstances that impacted the situation at the time and that included what Mr. Djokovic actually had been doing overseas before he came to Australia, where he tested positive. All of those stories played out at the time as well,” Andrews said.
“There were a whole range of circumstances that made the circumstances incredibly unique…So, I would be concerned if all of a sudden the government says it’s okay for you to come in.”
Television Channel 9 News also aired a story on the news, in which several Australian citizens expressed their opposition to Djokovic being allowed in, including a citizen who lost his wife to the virus.