Novak Djokovic should never play in Australia again if he is deported from the country next week, according to Serbia’s Honorary Consul in Dublin.
The World Number One tennis star is currently detained at a State-run quarantine hotel in Melbourne, after his medical exemption visa was cancelled on his arrival in the country.
Authorities at Melbourne Airport decided Djokovic, who is outspokenly opposed to getting vaccinated, had not provided sufficient medical evidence to qualify for the exemption.
The visa requires applicants to provide “medical evidence of vaccination or alternatively medical reasons why that individual cannot be vaccinated".
Djokovic has argued that he was granted the visa by Tennis Australia and the State of Victoria back in November and was only informed that he did not qualify when he arrived in the country.
He must now wait until Monday to appeal the cancellation of the visa.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Zivko Jaksic, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia in Dublin said Djokovic should boycott the tournament for the rest of his career if his appeal is rejected.
“He has got the case on Monday in court. If the court decides that the Government of Australia is wrong and he must be released and allowed to play that is fair enough,” he said. “If they turn around and say he can’t play, OK he goes back home, he has no choice.
“If that happens the Australian Open will go ahead and somebody else will win but the trophy is going to be devalued and if that happens, if I was in Djokovic’s place, I would turn around and refuse to play in Australia ever again.
“He should boycott it.”
Cheap political points
Mr Jaksic suggested Australian Prime Minister was using the World Number One to gain easy election points.
He said the visa was granted by Tennis Australia, the State of Victoria and the Australian Embassy in Belgrade.
“When he arrived there, things suddenly changed because there was a protest in Melbourne by a group of people over his coming into the country unvaccinated – which I fully understand knowing what the people in Melbourne went through,” he said,
“The Australian Prime Minister reacted very quickly and very opportunistically. He saw the opportunity to gain easy election points for the election coming up in September and he had his visa cancelled
“I would have no problem at all had he been told in November, look, if you want to come you must be vaccinated; If you are not vaccinated you can’t come but to issue the visa in November, let him board the plane in Belgrade without a problem, let him get to Australia and then suddenly the visa is cancelled … either the Australian authorities don’t know what they are doing or they used the opportunity to get cheap political points.”
Mr Jaksic said he personally disagrees with Djokovic’s stance on vaccination – but argued that Australia should have had firm rules on the issue from the beginning.
“They are picking on the World Number One who is coming to Australia to defend his title and they have decided we will have a great time denying World Number One entry into our country,” he said.
“It is as simple as that.”
Djokovic’s appeal is due to be heard on Monday.
The Australian Open gets underway in Melbourne on January 17th.