Andy Murray ‘won’t kick Novak when he’s down’ after Djokovic’s Australian visa is cancelled

The decision could lead to the world number one never competing in the Australian Open again.

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Andy Murray has said he refuses to berate Novak Djokovic after the tennis ace had his Australian visa cancelled for a second time.

The world number one had been waiting since a judge overturned the original decision on Monday to find out whether Immigration Minister Alex Hawke would use his powers to reimpose the penalty.

And, just before 6pm (7am UK time) on Friday, Hawke released a statement saying he had made the judgement to send Djokovic home “on health and good order grounds”.

Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovics visa on health and good order grounds.
Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovics visa on health and good order grounds.

Hawke said: “Today I exercised my power under section 133C(3) of the Migration Act to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so.

“This decision followed orders by the Federal Circuit and Family Court on 10 January 2022, quashing a prior cancellation decision on procedural fairness grounds.

“In making this decision, I carefully considered information provided to me by the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Border Force and Mr Djokovic.

“The Morrison Government is firmly committed to protecting Australia’s borders, particularly in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The decision means Djokovic also faces a three-year ban from the country, which could mean he never plays at the Australian Open again, although that can be waived.

After advancing to the final of the Sydney Tennis Classic, Andy Murray said: “It’s not a good situation. I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak whilst he’s down. It’s not a good situation for anyone.

Andy Murray urged people to 'get vaccinated'
Andy Murray urged people to 'get vaccinated'

“I just want it obviously to get resolved. I think it would be good for everyone if that was the case.

“It just seems like it’s dragged on for quite a long time now, and it’s not great for tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak. Obviously a lot of people have criticised the government here as well.”

There has been strong criticism of the way the Australian Government has handled the situation but public opinion has been firmly in favour of Djokovic being sent home.

Sympathy has also been in short supply from his fellow players, many of whom were sceptical of taking the vaccine, with world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas telling India’s WION news channel: “A very small group chose to follow their own way and it kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools.”

Following Djokovic’s detention, two other people – Czech player Renata Voracova and an official – who had entered the country with the same exemption were also informed that it was not valid and both left Australia without challenging the ruling.

Djokovic’s name remained in the draw for the tournament and it is likely to stay that way until it becomes clear whether he is leaving the country or contesting the decision but time is fast running out for the situation to be resolved before the start of play.

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic practices at Melbourne Park

Speaking at a press conference, Andy Murray also added that people should get jabbed, but accepts people should be allowed to decide for themselves.

"My feeling is that I would encourage people to get vaccinated but I do feel like people should be able to make their own decision.

"In a country like Australia, you know you need to be vaccinated to come in, need to be vaccinated to compete here, and obviously most of the players have chosen to do that.

"Ultimately people have to make their own choices. But there is also consequences sometimes for those decisions, as well."

The former Wimbledon champion added that when he received his third jab, a nurse told him the unvaccinated people are suffering the worst as a result of not being jabbed.

"My belief and what I have seen and read and looked at the data and everything, especially recently, in the UK anyway, is that the lady who gave me my third jab, she works in the hospital in Central London, and she told me that every single person that is in ICU and on ventilators are all people that are unvaccinated. So to me, it makes sense for people to go ahead and have it done."