Australian Open boss responds to $6 million Novak Djokovic bombshell

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here speaking with Craig Tiley after winning the Australian Open in 2021.
Novak Djokovic speaks with Craig Tiley after winning the Australian Open in 2021. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley has dismissed reports that Novak Djokovic will sue the Australian government over his treatment while in the country.

The World No.1 spent five nights in an immigration detention hotel before being deported after having his visa cancelled.

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In an explosive new twist to the saga last week, The Sun reported that Djokovic is weighing up a $6 million lawsuit against the Australian government.

The $6 million sum reportedly includes the prize money that the Serbian star could have potentially won had he been allowed to defend his Australian Open title.

The Sun quoted a 'source close to Djokovic's agent' Edoardo Artladi as saying: “It’s well known that Novak and his family feel he was poorly treated in the quarantine hotel in Melbourne.

“His mother revealed how it was full of fleas and maggots. He was kept a virtual prisoner.”

Lawyer Toma Fila said: “He was subjected to humiliating treatment. He should sue.”

However Tiley moved to dismiss the reports in an interview with ABC on Sunday.

The Tennis Australia boss said he does not believe Djokovic will sue and that he expects the World No.1 to return to play at the grand slam event next year.

"No," Tiley said when asked about the threat of legal action.

"There is going to be lots of reports on different things, but we are in a position as we focus on delivering an event right now, and we will continue to deliver a great event."

Immigration Law expert Maggie Taaffe previously told the Herald Sun that legal action could be on the cards for Djokovic.

“It’s possible he could certainly make a claim for compensation for being detained unlawfully because that was what the decision ultimately came to – the decision was procedurally unfair, it was unlawful,” she said.

Scott Morrison and Novak Djokovic, pictured here in Australia.
Novak Djokovic is reportedly considering suing the Australian government. Image: Getty

Craig Tiley expects Novak Djokovic back in Australia in 2023

Djokovic is facing a three-year ban from travelling to Australia as a result of his deportation, but Tiley said he thought the 20-time grand slam winner would be at Melbourne Park next year.

"Obviously, he's got to play out this year, but that will be his intention," he said.

"At the end of the day, he's the No.1 player in the world and he really loves the Australian Open."

However Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Djokovic would need to get vaccinated before officials even considered the idea of allowing him back into the country.

"You want to come here - get vaccinated. It's pretty simple," Andrews said on Sunday.

"Rafa (Nadal) had it right. It could all have been avoided if he just got vaccinated, and that fellow might think he's bigger than the tournament. He's not.

"That's why the tournament is happening without him. And it's a great success."

Tiley blamed miscommunication with the federal government for the issues that resulted in Djokovic being kicked out of Australia.

"It was an incredibly challenging environment," he said.

"One or two bits of communication doesn't define all the amounts of communication that continued to go on leading into the event.

"We knew we were going to have a difficult period and that's why there was a lot of contradiction and complexity with information."

with agencies

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