Novak Djokovic Australian Open series 2021

Tennis Australia ‘deeply regret’ Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open deportation fiasco

Tennis Australia have addressed the deportation of Novak Djokovic in a statement where they admit that “recent events have been a significant distraction,” while simultaneously praising Australian Open director Craig Tiley. 

In the months prior to the Australian Open, many were questioning whether the world number one would compete at the ‘Happy Slam’ after it was announced that Covid-19 vaccination would be a prerequisite for competition.

On 4th January, Djokovic announced that he had been granted a medical exemption, but this was deemed insufficient upon his arrival Down Under and his visa was subsequently cancelled.

The 20-time Slam champion had the decision reversed in court and looked set to compete for a record-breaking 21st Major title and defend his Australian Open crown.

This was until Immigration Minister Alex Hawke took the executive decision to overrule the court’s verdict and cancel his visa once again.

This decision was upheld unanimously by a three-judge panel and Djokovic was deported just one day before the first Slam of the season got underway.

Apart from a leaked video where tournament director and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley praised his staff and a tweet, Tennis Australia had remained silent on the situation.

However, they have now released a statement on the decision made by the court.

“We would like to make clear from the outset that we respect the decision of the Immigration Minister [Alex Hawke] and the finding of the Federal Court of Australia over the weekend,” it reads.

“Our priority has always been to put on one of the world’s greatest sporting events and ensure we are delivering the best possible experience for all our players, the fans, and the community.

“The board and Member Associations commend the Tennis Australia CEO and the entire Tennis Australia team for their hard work and dedication to delivering a spectacular summer of tennis.

“As the Australian tennis family, we recognise that recent events have been a significant distraction for everyone, and we deeply regret the impact this had on all players.

“There are always lessons to learn, and we will review all aspects of our preparation and implementation to inform our planning, as we do every year.

“That process always starts once the Australian Open champions have lifted their trophies.”

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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.