Scott Morrison speaks out after Novak Djokovic deported from Australia

·4-min read
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured right) during a press conference and tennis player Novak Djokovic (pictured left) during a match.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured right) said the nation had the right to 'protect our borders' after the deportation of World No.1 male tennis player Novak Djokovic (pictured left). (Getty Images)

Scott Morrison has offered no sympathy for Novak Djokovic following the deportation of the World No.1 tennis star on Sunday night.

Djokovic accepted his fate and flew out of the country at 10.51pm on Sunday, unable to defend his title and facing the possibility of losing his place as the World's No.1 men's player.

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The nine-time Aus Open champ lost the final appeal for his visa to be cancelled after a three-judge panel of the Federal Court ruled unanimously against him.

Djokovic said he was "extremely disappointed" and "uncomfortable" about how the scenario unfolded.

Following the ruling, Mr Morrison also released a statement and said the nation had the right for its borders to be protected.

“I welcome the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe,” he said.

“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected.

“It’s now time to get on with the Australian Open.”

The cancellation of his visa means Djokovic will be banned from reapplying for another one for three years.

On Monday morning, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the 37-year-old Djokovic may have potentially played his last match at the Australian Open as a result.

"It's a matter or him to consider ... but a three-year exclusion could apply," she told Sky News on Monday.

"(The exclusion) can be waived in compelling circumstances, but it's not a matter for today or tomorrow but some time in the future."

Novak Djokovic, pictured here walking through Melbourne airport as he prepares to leave the country.
Novak Djokovic walks through Melbourne airport as he prepares to leave the country. (Photo by MELL CHUN/AFP via Getty Images)

However Mr Morrison said Djokovic may be able to return to the country under the right circumstances.

Mr Morrison said the rules were clear surrounding entry to Australia, which needed to be enforced.

"The border principle is important and we were going to hold that line and it was effective," he told 2GB.

"This is someone who sought to come to Australia and not comply with entry rules.

"We have always been consistent and strong and very effective in maintaining the integrity of borders."

The prime minister said Djokovic did not have a valid medical exemption to enter the country for the Australian Open.

Djokovic was using a previous Covid-19 infection as a reason for a medical exemption not to be vaccinated, and while it was approved by a Victorian government and Tennis Australia panel, it was not valid in the view of the federal government.

"Djokovic was wrong, it's as simple as that," Mr Morrison said.

The word 'Nole', a nickname of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic and the colours of the Serbian flag are illuminated at the Belgrade Tower in Serbia on January 16, 2022.
The word 'Nole', a nickname of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic and the colours of the Serbian flag are illuminated at the Belgrade Tower in Serbia on January 16, 2022. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Serbian President hits back at Australia

The Australian Open was kicking off in Melbourne on Monday without its men's champion, who was deported from the country following an extraordinary 11-day saga amid protests from back home in Serbia that he's been treated scandalously.

However, the news wasn't well received back home.

The country's president Aleksandar Vučić hit out at the legal team of Immigration Minister Alex Hawke for 'lying' during the visa case.

"They lie simply," he said, according to a translation from media company Novosti.

"They say that less than 50 per cent of vaccinated citizens are in Serbia, and officially (it's) 58 per cent."

He later said Djokovic will be welcomed home in Belgrade with open arms.

“They think that they have by this, this mistreatment of 10 days humiliated Djokovic, but they have humiliated themselves,” Vučić told a state media outlet.

“Djokovic can return to his country with his head held high.”

Vučić earlier claimed the detention of Djokovic was a 'political witch hunt'.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic called Djokovic's treatment "scandalous".

Djokovic's family added: "We had hoped that justice would prevail.

"That 'public interest' would not serve as a pretext for a decision that was eventually made."

with agencies

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