Novak Djokovic Australian Open 2021

Slam legend accuses Australian Open fans of ‘gloating’ about Novak Djokovic’s deportation

John McEnroe believes the Australian crowds “should be thrilled” by the fact that three home favourites all won ‘Happy Slams’, but feels they are instead “gloating” over the deportation of Novak Djokovic.

20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic aggrieved Australian supporters when he arrived at the border with a medical exemption that was deemed invalid and subsequently voided. Djokovic was then detained for a weekend as he fought the decision in court.

Whilst his exemption and visa were reinstated, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke took the executive decision to cancel his visa one final time and deport the Serb just one day before the Australian Open began.

Multiple former professionals and pundits felt that Djokovic’s antics seriously upset and angered the Australian population after they had been placed under strict lock-down measures throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Djokovic’s absence meant that Rafael Nadal was able to beat both Roger Federer and Djokovic to a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title.

Speaking on Eurosport before the Australian Open final, McEnroe said “If you think about how the tournament started three weeks ago when this train wreck (Djokovic’s deportation) transpired, considering people were all bummed out and this thing appeared to be totally mishandled, we’re starting to get information every day on what’s going on.

“Nadal going for history when he hasn’t played for six months. The last guy that did that was Roger [Federer] when he hadn’t played for six months and won it (Wimbledon).

“Ash Barty won the women’s singles. The Aussies should be thrilled right now!

“They’re gloating over what they did to Djokovic, Ash Barty won the singles and Kyrgios of all people won the doubles with Kokkinakis.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.