Novak Djokovic news: ‘I hated the exemption that he had’ – respected coach

Australian Open
Novak Djokovic on court

The Novak Djokovic visa debacle “was a mess from the start” with well-renowned coach Darren Cahill admitting he was always uneasy over the exemption that the world No 1 received.

Djokovic won’t defend his Australian Open crown after his visa cancelled for a second time by the country’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

Although Djokovic took the matter to court, the decision was upheld by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia on Sunday and he was deported.

The drama started just under a fortnight ago when the 20-time Grand Slam winner announced that he is on his way to Melbourne after receiving an “exemption permission” from Tennis Australia and the Victoria government to compete as he had Covid-19 six months prior.

It came as a surprise as under Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines only fully vaccinated players would be allowed to compete while only in exceptional circumstances would unvaccinated players be allowed into the country.

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Cahill, who has coached the likes of Simona Halep, Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, admits he was not happy that Djokovic received an exemption.

“It’s been a cloud hanging over the players,” he told Channel Nine’s Wide World of Sport.

“I hated the exemption that he had, because I think that exemption is really for people who wish to get vaccinated and they can’t get vaccinated because they’ve contracted Covid.

“If you have an acute medical illness or something that holds you back from getting it, no problem, but I didn’t like the whole thing from the start.

“It was a mess from the start and then it just got worse and worse.”

Former world No 1 Jim Courier believes everyone involved in the debacle “lost”.

“I think there’s still cards to fall, as to finding out a little bit more, the details of which part of the government knew what,” he said.

“And how in the heck is he in the airport in Dubai and they approve his paperwork? I was in the airport in (Los Angeles), I had stacks of paper this deep to get in, and I’m fully vaccinated.

“There’s obviously been some errors made here but ultimately, everyone that’s involved in this has lost. Everyone.

“It would have been so much better if Novak had never come here for him, for sure, for tennis and for the government, frankly. It’s just not been a pretty story.”

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