'Hate it': Players lash Novak Djokovic theory at Australian Open

·4-min read
Novak Djokovic, pictured here being deported from Australia.
Novak Djokovic will miss the Australian Open after being deported from Australia. Image: AAP/Getty

British tennis player Liam Broady has bristled at suggestions the 2022 Australian Open champion should have an asterisk next to their name because of Novak Djokovic's absence.

Djokovic made a hasty exit from Australia on Sunday night after his last-ditch attempt to overturn his visa cancellation in court was rejected.

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The World No.1 will now watch on from Serbia as his top rivals fight to take the crown he won in 2021.

Fellow 20-time grand slam champion Rafa Nadal now has the chance to break the men's all-time record and win his 21st major.

However there have been some suggestions that this year's Australian Open title will come with an asterisk because Djokovic isn't able to play.

“I hate the argument that there should be an asterisk next to this year’s winner of the Australian Open,” Broady wrote on Twitter on Monday.

“That would mean every tournament that the world number 1 doesn’t play should have an asterisk next to it.

"For most of the 60’s the best players didn’t even play the slams."

Djokovic is facing the prospect of missing the next two Australian Opens as well unless he successfully appeals an automatic three-year ban from the country.

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

But that could just be the tip of the iceberg for the World No.1, with Djokovic facing similar visa issues in many other countries - including the host nations of the other three annual grand slam events.

As it stands, the unvaccinated star will not be permitted into America for this year's US Open, he may not be allowed into Britain for Wimbledon and his access to Paris for the French Open remains uncertain.

As a citizen of the European Union, Djokovic is likely to be allowed into Paris to defend his Roland Garros crown providing he follows France's current and strict protocols for the unvaccinated.

But French president Emmanuel Macron is taking an increasingly hardline stance on the unvaccinated and vowing to limit "as much as possible their access to activities in social life."

"We have to tell them (the unvaccinated) you will no longer be able to got to a restaurant, you will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre, you will no longer be able to go to the cinema. We will continue to do this, to the end. This is the strategy," he said recently.

Spectators, pictured here taking selfies with a photo of Novak Djokovic as they arrive at Melbourne Park.
Spectators take selfies with a photo of Novak Djokovic as they arrive at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

Home Affairs Minister address Novak Djokovic ban

Speaking on Monday morning, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said Djokovic may have potentially played his last match at the Australian Open.

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

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

However Prime Minister Scott 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."

Ms Andrews said Djokovic would need to demonstrate convincing reasons to re-enter during the three-year ban if he wanted to return to Australia.

"Any applicant would need to go through the process, it doesn't matter if you're Novak Djokovic or anyone else ... it's not a straight forward process," she said.

"The saga could have been avoided if Novak Djokovic was vaccinated."

with AAP

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