‘He hasn’t broken any rules’ – Boris Becker defends Novak Djokovic
Former world No 1 Boris Becker has defended Novak Djokovic as the Serbian is caught up in a vaccine row and is facing the threat of deportation from Australia after a mix-up with his visa.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner announced on Tuesday that he was travelling Down Under for the Australian Open under a medical exemption after doubt and rumours swirled for months around his vaccination status.
However, upon his arrival in Melbourne on Wednesday it was decided by authorities that he would be denied entry to the country after a member of the 34-year-old’s team submitted the wrong paperwork when applying for a visa, opting for one that doesn’t allow for a medical exemption from having the jab.
Mr Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) January 5, 2022
Stuck in immigration detention until Monday while he waits for a hearing on his appeal of the decision to deport him, the reigning Australian Open champion has had been supported by tennis legend Becker.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the 54-year-old said: “Novak had a medical exemption, along with five other players in the draw – he was dealing directly with the Australian Open, it was professionally done.
“He didn’t break any rules, they were allowed to play, but obviously some Australians haven’t seen their families in a year and a half or two years.
“I understand the public outcry but I want to defend Djokovic a little bit because he wouldn’t have flown without an exemption.”
Serbia’s president Aleksandar Vucic has also rushed to defend the world No 1 by describing him as a victim of harassment in Australia and insists his home country is behind him.
“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,” the leader revealed.
“In line with all norms of international law, Serbia will fight for Novak, truth and justice.
“Novak is strong, as we all know.”
It’s still up in the air as to whether Djokovic will be able to defend his title at the season opening Grand Slam with his appeal hearing set to take place on Monday morning.
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