'Hit him mentally: Novak Djokovic camp savages 'unjust' treatment

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·Sports Reporter
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Novak Djokovic has been 'hurt mentally' by his deportation from Australia ahead of the Australian Open. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic has been 'hurt mentally' by his deportation from Australia ahead of the Australian Open. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic's camp has spoken of the impact his recent deportation from Australia has had on his mindset, with a longtime confidante saying the saga has affected his mental health.

The world No.1 was sent home from Melbourne the night before the Australian Open was set to begin, after his appeal against the cancellation of his visa was thrown out by the Federal Court.

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Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated against Covid-19, had hoped to enter the country on what he termed an 'exemption permission' prior to departure, however border officials did not accept his explanation or documentation to do so when he arrived in Melbourne.

He was taken to immigration detention, kicking off a week-long saga that eventually resulted in him departing before the grand slam was set to begin.

It was a bitterly disappointing blow for Djokovic, with the nine-time Australian Open winner vying for a record 21st men's grand slam title.

Instead, the 34-year-old has been left to contemplate his next move from afar as key rival Rafael Nadal has the chance to break the tie between himself, Djokovic and Roger Federer for the record.

Speaking on Serbian TV program Sport Klub, 15-year mentor of Djokovic's Marian Vajda said the 'unjust' decision had left the tennis superstar at a loss.

“I still don’t understand why they did it to him,” Vajda said.

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

“I haven’t communicated with him since he arrived in Belgrade. 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.

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

Novak Djokovic camp unhappy with French Open vaccine move

Having witnessed the messy saga that was Djokovic's arrival at the Australian Open, the French parliament has passed a vaccine law that will require people to prove their vaccination status to enter almost all public spaces.

This will be extended to visiting players and their ability to enter the Roland Garros facility to play and train - prompting an angry salvo from Vajda.

He said it was unfair for the new law to be implemented when, in his words, 'the world doesn't know what will happen with the pandemic in a month'.

“I don’t understand … why it’s important for them to announce this now about the tournaments that will take place in May, when the world doesn’t even know what will happen to the pandemic in a month,” Vajda said.

“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?”

Novak Djokovic's French Open hopes could be in doubt with the French government passing strict vaccine laws.
Novak Djokovic's camp is unhappy about the French government's move to introduce strict Covid-19 vaccination requirements months ahead of the French Open. (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images)

In the wake of the Federal Court's decision to uphold the cancellation of his visa, Djokovic posted a public statement saying he was 'disappointed' but would respect the court's decision.

“I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this,” Djokovic said.

“I am extremely disappointed with the ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open. I respect the Court’s ruling and I’ll co-operate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from Aus.

“I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love. I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament."

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