‘I just wish he had taken the vaccination’: Tennis legend Martina Navratilova insists she ‘CAN’T DEFEND’ Novak Djokovic’s choice not to get the jab – and believes anti-vaxx world No 1 should be ‘more aware of everybody else’ in the locker room
- Novak Djokovic won an appeal on Monday against the Australian government for tearing up his visa
- Yet there is now speculation immigration minister may re-cancel the Serb’s visa
- All-time leading Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova insisted she admires Djokovic ‘so much’ but added she ‘can’t defend the choice to not get vaccinated’
- The Czech-American insisted the world No 1 should’ve ‘taken one for the team’
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova insists she cannot defend Novak Djokovic’s choice not to get vaccinated amid the ongoing saga surrounding his Australian visa.
The anti-vaxx world No 1 won an appeal on Monday against the Australian government for tearing up his visa upon his arrival in Melbourne last week.
Djokovic arrived in the country to compete in the Australian Open holding what he thought was a valid medical exemption to vaccination rules, stating that he had been infected with Covid last month.
But border guards rejected the documents and tore up the visa, with Djokovic thrown into detention alongside refugees while he waited for his appeal to come before the courts.
That hearing took place today, with Judge Anthony Kelly dramatically quashing the decision to revoke his visa after ruling that border guards had been ‘unreasonable’ and had not given Djokovic, 34, enough time to appeal.
Yet Navratilova – who won a record total of 59 Grand Slam titles across singles and doubles – told Good Morning Britain that the ‘saga’ was ‘getting crazier by the minute’, adding she couldn’t defend the Serb’s choice not to get the jab.
‘It’s unbelievable, what a saga. It could have been avoided. I just wish Novak had taken that vaccination to begin with,’ the 65-year-old said.
‘I admire him so much but I can’t defend the choice to not get vaccinated.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova (left) insists she cannot defend Novak Djokovic’s (right) choice not to get vaccinated; the anti-vaxx world No 1 won an appeal on Monday against the Australian government for tearing up his visa
Djokovic arrived in the country to compete in the Australian Open holding what he thought was a valid medical exemption to vaccination rules
There were jubilant scenes outside the facility where Djokovic was being held after the world No 1 won an appeal on Monday against the Australian government for tearing up his visa
‘You have to take one for the team. It’s getting crazier by the minute.
‘We’re in such close contact in the locker rooms. I couldn’t wait to get vaccinated. I admire Novak and I know what it takes to be that committed.
‘I would be much more scared of getting sick from not being vaccinated than whatever side effects I might have from the vaccination. You really need to be more aware of everybody else.’
The government was ordered to release the tennis ace within half an hour of the ruling, pay his court costs and return his passport and personal belongings.
But Christopher Tran, who was leading the government’s case, warned that immigration minister Alex Hawke may use his personal powers to revoke Djokovic’s visa – a decision that could also see the athlete banned from the country for three years.
The Serbian star’s exemption stated he had been infected with Covid last month
Yet the nine-time Australian Open champion’s documents were rejected and his visa torn up
Djokovic is hoping to enter Australia and compete at the Open – which starts on January 17 – in a bid to become the most-decorated men’s singles player of all time.
The Serb is currently level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Open titles each. Federer is out of this year’s tournament with injury, while Nadal will be competing in Melbourne.
Andy Murray is convinced that, whatever the outcome, there are going to be no winners from the Djokovic saga.
The double Wimbledon champion, who is in Sydney for the final warm-up event ahead of the Australian Open, broke his silence on the tumultuous events surrounding one of his great rivals.
Andy Murray says the uncertainty over Djokovic’s situation ahead of the Australian Open is ‘really bad’ for tennis and claims the scenario has ‘shocked’ the athletes
Despite being an outspoken advocate of people getting vaccinated, Murray, 34, has some sympathy for someone born just a week apart from him, who he has known since junior days.
‘I think everyone is shocked by it, to be honest,’ five-time Australian Open finalist Murray told reporters in Australia.
‘I’m going to say two things on it just now. The first thing is that I hope that Novak is OK. I know him well, and I’ve always had a good relationship with him and I hope that he’s OK.
Djokovic fans wave Serbia flags in support of the tennis star in Melbourne on Monday
‘The second thing, it’s really not good for tennis at all, and I don’t think it’s good for anyone involved. I think it’s really bad.’
Back in October Murray had already expressed the view that Australia was well within its rights to take a strong line on those who did not get jabbed.
‘It would be great if more players got vaccinated,’ he said then. ‘Australia in particular has been very, very strict. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever.’
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