Novak Djokovic has received a timely boost in his hopes of competing at this year’s French Open just hours after being deported from Australia. The Serbian’s father, Srdjan, slammed Australia for ‘assassinating’ his son and promised fans that Djokovic will see them at Roland Garros in May.
The World No 1 was deported from Australia on Sunday and barred from competing at the Australian Open.
A court ruling culminated an incredible saga, which the ATP have labelled as ‘deeply regrettable’.
Djokovic landed in Melbourne nearly two weeks ago under the impression that he had been granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia. The exemption allowed him to compete as he is unvaccinated against COVID-19.
But upon arriving in Australia, Djokovic was detained by Australia Border Force and was told that he faced deportation due to incorrect forms.
A judge ruled that Djokovic should remain in the country but immigration minister Alex Hawke exercised his power to revoke the tennis star’s visa. But a different judge then ruled in favour of the Australian government.
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Djokovic will therefore not be allowed to defend his Australian Open title. Attention has now turned to whether he will be able to compete at further Grand Slams as countries tighten restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Srdjan Djokovic, Novak’s father, has already had his damning say on the Australian government and has promised that his son will play at the French Open – which is due to take place between May 16 and June 5.
He said: “The attempt to assassinate the best athlete in the world has ended. Fifty bullets in Novak’s chest. See you in Paris.”
And it appears that Djokovic will be allowed to compete at Roland Garros. According to the president of the French Tennis Federation, discussions over taking place over the participation of unvaccinated players.
“Our teams work in collaboration with public authorities, who will clarify the rules for welcoming foreign non-vaccinated athletes for our tournament in a timely manner,” said Gilles Meretton, as quoted by FranceInfo Sport.
“Ultimately, decisions of legal authorities regarding matters of public health must be respected. More time is required to take stock of the facts and to take the learnings from this situation.
“Irrespective of how this point has been reached, Novak is one of our sport’s greatest champions and his absence from the Australian Open is a loss for the game.
“We know how turbulent the recent days have been for Novak and how much he wanted to defend his title in Melbourne.
“We wish him well and look forward to seeing him back on court soon. ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination to all players.”