Andy Murray calls out Novak Djokovic over photo controversy

·5-min read
Andy Murray says Novak Djokovic should explain himself after court documents showed he tested positive for Covid-19 days before being photographed at a series of public events. Pictures: Getty Images/Instagram
Andy Murray says Novak Djokovic should explain himself after court documents showed he tested positive for Covid-19 days before being photographed at a series of public events. Pictures: Getty Images/Instagram

Andy Murray says Novak Djokovic's ongoing visa saga has become a source of frustration for players and has called on the world No.1 to explain some of his actions.

Djokovic is preparing for the Australian Open having been released from immigration detention after successfully appealing the cancellation of his visa in the Federal Court on Monday.

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The 34-year-old, who has espoused anti-vaccination views in the past, was granted a vaccine exemption from the Victorian government and Tennis Australia based on the fact he contracted Covid-19 in mid-December.

The nine-times Australian Open champion admitted to border officials that he was not vaccinated on arrival, with further concerns raised about his whereabouts after testing positive on December 16.

Djokovic was reportedly pictured posing for photos with children at the Novak Tennis Centre, as well as attending several other public functions in the days after court documents showed he had tested positive.

Additionally, Australian border officials are investigating whether Djokovic had mislead them about having travelled to Spain and Serbia in the 14 days before his trip to Melbourne.

Murray admitted the sideshow had gone past the point of being annoying, with the remaining players in Australia having all been vaccinated and subjected to questions about the saga.

Nevertheless, the former world No.1 said Djokovic owed the tennis world an explanation for his movements.

"It's a positive that he's not in detention anymore. He won in court so that's a positive thing for him," Murray said when asked by AAP on Tuesday night.

"There are still a few questions that need to be answered about the isolation and stuff, which I'm sure we'll hear from him in the next few days.

"I am obviously here to try and play and win tournaments. It's the first match I've won here (in Australia) in over three years.

"This is where situations like this are frustrating for players because I want to come off and talk about my tennis and not talk about situations like that."

Djokovic was later forthcoming with an explanation, posting on Instagram that he was unaware he had tested positive when he was photographed, but admitted to erring by showing up to a photoshoot with French newspaper L'Equipe while he should have been in isolation.

Tennis needs Novak Djokovic at the Open: Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios once said he could not stand Novak Djokovic, describing him as "a tool".

Yet he has now become one of his old foe's most unlikely and sympathetic backers, declaring that Djokovic hasn't been treated humanely and that tennis really needs its world No.1 back at the Australian Open.

"Honestly, I hope it all gets sorted as soon as possible. For the sport, we need him here, it's that simple," Kyrgios said.

"He's one of the most influential sports people, probably of all-time. If he's ready to play and he's allowed to play, I think it's in a way good for our sport with all this attention.

"His life's probably hard enough as it is, and I know what that's like.

"I'm feeling for him now. Like it's not really humane, is it, what's going on?"

Novak Djokovic's visa saga remains ongoing despite his court victory on Monday.
Novak Djokovic was freed from Australian immigration detention on Monday after successfully appealing the cancellation of his visa. (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Djokovic has also found support from his old friend, another former Australian 'enfant terrible' Bernard Tomic who, like Kyrgios, said he wished the situation surrounding Djokovic's visa exemption had been handled very differently.

Djokovic, who is seeking a record 21st grand slam at Melbourne Park, has said in his legal challenge that he'd been given the medical exemption because he had contracted COVID-19 last month.

His plight has become a diplomatic minefield with claims from Serbia that the 34-year-old is being treated like a prisoner, while Djokovic himself appears to have become a poster boy for opponents of vaccine mandates around the world.

One thing Kyrgios is sure of. If the champion does get cleared to stay in Australia and defend his title, that famed Djokovic stubborn, bloody-mindedness is going to be even more armour-plated.

"If he's allowed to play, I reckon he's going to be pissed off," said Kyrgios.

"He'll have no problem preparing, this is just all added fuel for him, he's going to be very determined to play well, and stick it to everyone.

"And I don't want any bar of that Novak. Someone else can have that task."

With agencies

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