Djokovic's brother says star is back on tennis court
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Nick Kyrgios has blasted the handling of the Novak Djokovic saga. The 26-year-old said he was “embarrassed” to be an Australian athlete after the world No 1 had his visa cancelled when landing in Melbourne last week, and spent the weekend in a government detention hotel before winning an appeal to have the decision overturned.
Djokovic faced deportation when arriving in Melbourne for the upcoming Australian Open last week, as Australian Border Force cancelled his visa when the world No 1 failed to provide enough proof for his medical exemption.
The nine-time Aussie Open champion had been granted the exemption by Tennis Australia on the basis that he had been infected with Covid-19 in the last six months, but federal government said this was not valid grounds for a medical exemption.
Djokovic then spend the weekend in a government detention hotel while awaiting an appeal hearing on Monday, when the decision to cancel his visa was overturned on the grounds of “procedural fairness”, as the federal government conceded they did not give the Serb enough time to prove his exemption.
Despite winning the appeal, the 34-year-old could still miss the Australian Open with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still considering cancelling Djokovic’s visa for a second time.
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Kyrgios has now slammed the handling of the issue, taking to his Instagram story to comment on the saga after himself recently testing positive for Covid-19.
“We know that the media like to create s***-storms, with my story and everything going on with Novak,” the world No 114 said.
“I feel quite embarrassed as an Australian athlete who’s seen what this guy has done for us and for the sport. I just don’t think it’s right how we’re handling it, but the media loves to do that, loves to divide.”
The Aussie has previously criticised Djokovic for his controversial actions during the pandemic.
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When the Serb organised the Adria Tour during the height of the pandemic in summer 2020 with full crowds in both Croatia and Serbia, he and other players participating in the event including Borna Coric and Alexander Zverev came under criticism for photos showing the players posing together and going clubbing.
The exhibition tournament was cancelled when Grigor Dimitrov tested positive for Covid, and other players including Coric and Djokovic later returned positive tests.
Kyrgios was one of the players who slammed the Adria Tour at the time, saying of Djokovic: “When he was supposed to show some leadership and humility he went missing. Majority would say he has taken an L regardless.”
The former world No 13 also took a swipe at the players involved when the pro tennis tour resumed in August 2020 after a five-month suspension for the pandemic, saying: “Tennis players, you have to act in the interests of each other and work together. You can’t be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck hosting the next exhibition. That’s just so selfish.”
Kyrgios is currently hoping to be good to go for his home Grand Slam, which begins next Monday.
The 26-year-old withdrew ahead of his opening match in Melbourne last week with asthma and later opened up on a mystery illness that had left him bedridden, saying he had tested negative for Covid.
But he pulled out of the Sydney International this week after testing positive, confirming the news on his social media accounts.
Giving his fans an update on Tuesday, the Aussie said: “I actually don’t feel too bad at the moment and I’m taking all necessary precautions.
“Obviously not ideal a week out of the Aus Open, but I’m going to do everything in my power to feel OK and get out there and hopefully give you all a show.
“I just don’t want this to take away from the Australian summer of tennis. We’ve had a lot of great results, a lot of other Aussies are doing really well.”
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