Reaction to Novak Djokovic’s Canceled Visa in Australia

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
January 7, 2022 Updated: January 7, 2022

BRISBANE, Australia—Reaction from social media and elsewhere to the Australian government denying No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic entry and the cancellation of his visa because he failed to meet the requirements for an exemption to COVID-19 vaccination rules:

“The world has been suffering enough to not follow the rules.”—Rafael Nadal, who is tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

“If he had a fair exemption from the rule, well, he should be here; if he didn’t, he shouldn’t be here.”—Daniil Medvedev, who is ranked No. 2 behind Djokovic on the men’s tour.

“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.”—statement from Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

“He played by the rules, he got his exemption, he’s a nine-time champion, whether people like it or not he’s entitled to fair play. He doesn’t make the rules. He deserves his day on court, not in court in my opinion”—Paul McNamee, who was the Australian Open tournament director for 12 years.

“Not the most usual trip from Down Under”—wrote Djokovic’s coach and 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic on social media during an overnight wait at the Melbourne airport.

“Just to be crystal clear here. 2 separate medical boards approved his exemption. And politicians are stopping it. Australia doesn’t deserve to host a grand slam.”—two-time quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren of the United States, who is not playing the Australian Open this year because of the vaccination requirement, wrote on Twitter.

“I think it might get ugly . . . if he’s got a reason for (the exemption) then . . . we should know it,”—tennis legend Rod Laver, in comments shortly before Djokovic’s arrival in Australia.

“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-19, we are continuing to be vigilant.”—Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, wrote on Twitter.