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Reaction to Australia court upholding cancellation of Djokovic's visa

TENNIS By Reuters | January 16th 2022 | 4 min read

Serbia's Novak Djokovic practices in the Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, January 11, 2022. [Scott Barbour, Tennis Australia via AP]

Following are reactions to the Australian federal court upholding a government decision to cancel Novak Djokovic's visa, ending the Serbian's bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Jan. 17-30 Australian Open.

20-TIMES GRAND SLAM CHAMPION NOVAK DJOKOVIC

"I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.

"I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister's decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open."

AUSTRALIAN PM SCOTT MORRISON

"This cancellation decision was made on health, safety and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so. I welcome the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe.

"I thank the Court for their prompt attention to these issues and the patience of all involved as we have worked to resolve this issue. It's now time to get on with the Australian Open and get back to enjoying tennis over the summer."

SERBIAN PRESIDENT ALEKSANDAR VUCIC

"I spoke to Djokovic and told him we cannot wait to see him. I told him he is always welcome in Serbia."

ATP TOUR

"Today's decision to uphold Novak Djokovic's Australian visa cancellation marks the end of a deeply regrettable series of events. Ultimately, decisions of legal authorities regarding matters of public health must be respected.

"More time is required to take stock of the facts and to take the learnings from this situation.

"Irrespective of how this point has been reached, Novak is one of our sport's greatest champions and his absence from the Australian Open is a loss for the game."

CANADIAN TENNIS PLAYER VASEK POSPISIL

"Novak would never have gone to Australia if he had not been given an exemption to enter the country by the government (which he did receive; hence Judge Kelly's initial ruling).

"He would have skipped the Australian Open and been home with his family and no one would be talking about this mess.

"There was a political agenda at play here with the elections coming up which couldn't be more obvious. This is not his fault. He did not force his way into the country and did not "make his own rules"; he was ready to stay home."

UKRAINIAN TENNIS PLAYER SERGIY STAKHOVSKY

"A very sad day in history of tennis. It's sad when politics beat common sense…The law is one for all, but interpretations are different for all. Shameful to target one because of his beliefs, which are different from others."

FORMER AUSTRALIAN PM KEVIN RUDD

"The end of a week-long, political circus - all avoidable had Morrison not issued #Djokovic a visa in the first place.

"He then tries to look like a hairy chested Howard: 'we decide who comes here, nobody else'. Meanwhile hospital crisis off the front page."

FRENCH TENNIS PLAYER ALIZE CORNET

"I know too little to judge the situation. What I know is that Novak is always the first one to stand for the players. But none of us stood for him. Be strong @DjokerNole"

AUSTRALIAN SENATOR NICK MCKIM

"Djokovic gets deported to resume his privileged life. Meanwhile people who have been found to be genuine refugees continue to languish in Australian prisons after nine years of exile, murder, abuse and brutal dehumanisation. We must remove the Minister's god-like powers. Now."

FORMER AUSTRALIAN TENNIS PLAYER RENNAE STUBBS

"It's official. The 9 time defending champion will be deported from Australia. This is a sad sad day for tennis, Australia, the Australian Open and obviously for @DjokerNole. I honestly cannot believe it's come to this…."

DANIEL VALLVERDU, COACH AND FORMER PLAYER

"Everyone in tennis from players to coaches to journalists to tv commentators…lets make a conscious effort to turn the page and give the well deserved attention to the players competing the next two weeks. They have been training for months and its their time. Good luck to all!"

TENNIS WRITER BEN ROTHENBERG

"(Periodic and important reminder that Djokovic could have avoided all this rigamarole by simply getting vaccinated like 97%+ of his tennis player peers have.)"

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