Aussie tennis icon takes brutal swipe at 'tone deaf' Djokovic

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·Sports Reporter
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Novak Djokovic has been labelled 'tone deaf' by former Australian contender Sam Groth over his attempts to enter the country without being vaccinated against Covid-19. Pictures: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic has been labelled 'tone deaf' by former Australian contender Sam Groth over his attempts to enter the country without being vaccinated against Covid-19. Pictures: Getty Images

Former Australian tennis star Sam Groth has labelled world No.1 Novak Djokovic 'tone deaf' for his attempts to enter the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated.

After months of refusing to disclose his vaccination status, Djokovic announced on Tuesday evening via social media that he had been granted a medical exemption to compete in the grand slam.

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This prompted outcry among the public, and has ultimately resulted in the cancellation of Djokovic's visa by the Border Force agency.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt said Djokovic's visa had been cancelled because he had been unable to provide 'appropriate standards of proof' that he should be exempt from being vaccinated.

Prior to Djokovic's visa being cancelled, a move the Serbian star is expected to fight through the courts, his announcement that he would be playing sparked outrage.

Groth, a former opponent of the world No.1, said Djokovic was consistently 'failing' the societal expectations that have come with his status as one of the world's best tennis players.

“I still think Djokovic is one of the greatest ever but with greatness comes expectation and he fails every time,” Groth wrote for the Herald Sun.

“He is failing his peers and laughing in the face of Victorians.”

“He was here last year lifting the trophy and paying tribute to what Victorians in particular had endured.

“He played in empty stadiums during the snap lockdown. His announcement on Tuesday was tone-deaf. He should know better.”

Djokovic touched down in Melbourne on Wednesday but the visa mix-up saw him whisked away to a room under police guard, while officials tried to clear up his situation.

The 34-year-old's father Srdjan told the Serbian B92 internet portal: "Novak is currently in a room which no one can enter. In front of the room are two policemen."

Djokovic was still awaiting permission to enter the country with his team reportedly having applied for a visa that does not allow for medical exemptions.

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The world No.1 intends to file an injunction in an attempt to stop the deportation.

Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed on Thursday that Djokovic would have to leave the country following the cancellation of his visa.

"The advice I have is that the ABF (Australian Border Force) can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia and his visa has been subsequently cancelled," Hunt told Channel 7.

"It's a matter for him whether he wishes to appeal that but if a visa is cancelled, somebody will have to leave the country

"That follows a review of the exemption which was provided through Victorian government processes."

It is believed that Djokovic will be transferred to a city hotel until the injunction is heard or a flight out of the country is arranged.

Novak Djokovic's has had his visa cancelled after arriving in Australia because he has not been vaccinated.
Novak Djokovic's visa was cancelled by Border Force upon his arrival in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open. (Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison weighed in, saying no-one was above border rules.

"Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules," Morrison tweeted on Thursday morning.

But the move by the Australian government threatened to cause a diplomatic incident between Canberra and Belgrade.

"I've just finished my telephone conversation with Novak Djokovic," Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic posted on Instagram.

"I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him and that our bodies are doing everything to see that the harassment of the world's best tennis player is brought to an end immediately.

"In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice."

With AAP

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