Novak Djokovic news: Johanna Konta bemoans ‘sad situation’ affecting ‘generous’ world No 1

Australian Open
Novak Djokovic looking ahead

Johanna Konta has lamented the fact that Novak Djokovic is not competing at the Australian Open, saying it “sad” that he is not able to gun for a 21st Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park.

The drawn-out saga involving Djokovic came to a conclusion on Sunday when three judges unanimously upheld Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to revoke his visa for a second time and the Serbian was deported later in the day.

Hawke’s decision – based on “health and good order grounds” with fears that his presence could stoke anti-vaccination protests – came after the world No 1 won his appeal against the original case by the Australian Border Force to cancel his visa upon his arrival in the country.

Konta, who retired from professional tennis in 2021, bemoaned the Serbian’s absence from the season-opening Grand Slam.

“There are a lot of different elements to it,” she said in the Eurosport Cube.

“But I think overall it’s just a sad situation. It’s so sad to see someone who tries really hard to do right by people, right by fans, right by tournaments. He’s quite generous with his money and time to help.

“I think it’s unfortunate to see someone in that situation and hurting like that. Also, we would have loved to see Djokovic there playing for his 21st Grand Slam. It’s history and we want to be a part of that history.”

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Djokovic had admitted in court papers that he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, but Konta has warned that he could find it difficult to compete at the highest level if he doesn’t get inoculated.

“The more these things happen, the narrower his decision will have to become,” she said.

Konta added: “Right now, he probably needs to take a bit of time to recover from what happened in Australia.

“That was a quite ordeal and we have no idea how much emotional stress and energy that took out of him. So I think he’s probably going to take some time, look after himself, spend time with his family and then reassess on how he wants to move forward.”

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