Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Alexander Zverev: ‘I feel sorry for Novak Djokovic about the way the world speaks about him’

Alexander Zverev says he ‘feels sorry for the way the world speaks about Novak Djokovic’ after his deportation from Australia.

The Australian government used executive power to cancel Djokovic’s visa, believing he may help fuel anti-vaccination sentiment in the country.

Djokovic is not vaccinated against Covid-19 but obtained a medical exemption to play the Australian Open due to a recent infection.

However, after a week of legal disputes and global debate, the world number one was eventually ejected from Australia mere hours before the tournament began.

Now Zverev, who won his opening match on Monday, has had his say on the matter.

“It wasn’t easy for anybody,” said Zverev. “I think especially for him (Djokovic).

“He had the visa, then got it taken away once he arrived here, then won in court and was allowed to practise, was allowed to stay in the house. Now he had to go back home to Serbia so it wasn’t easy for anyone, but for him especially.

“It’s very difficult to say something, it’s very difficult to say the right things but in my opinion, Australia has suffered a lot. Australia has been a closed country for almost two years and I understand it from that perspective, I understand the tough rules that we had last year.”

“I have to say one thing, I think Craig Tiley has lost a few years of his life over the last two years, but is doing an incredible job.

Alexander Zverev Australian Open 2022

“To make the event happen last year when the country was completely closed and to make it happen this year again is one hell of an effort so I think he deserves a lot of credit.”

“I understand the Australian people’s perspective, I understand the Australian government perspective, but I also do believe that there should have been more communication between the Victoria government and Australian government before Novak came here.

“Once Novak came here, it was very obvious that all of this would start if the government didn’t approve of his visa. It is very difficult for him to be in a position that he is in now, I think the whole world is talking about it, the whole world is talking about one of the greatest tennis players, one of the greatest athletes who ever lived, in such a negative way. Which I find very difficult.

“I think there should have been clarity. I understand the perspective that, if they say ‘no unvaccinated players should be in Australia’ then he shouldn’t have got into the country. That’s it. Then all of this drama would not have happened.

“From my perspective, I feel a little bit sorry for him in the way the world speaks about him.”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.