The Australian government has decided to cancel Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time. The world number 1 has appealed the decision but he should return to a detention center on Saturday and his participation in the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, seems increasingly compromised. Europe 1 received the reaction of the vice-president of the international tennis federation, Bernard Giudicelli.
The tribulations of Novak Djokovic in Australia. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has decided to cancel his visa again, and the Serbian player could return to detention on Saturday. He is accused of having returned to the territory without being vaccinated against the coronavirus and the exemption which he thought he was taking advantage of did not convince the authorities.
After escaping deportation for the first time on Monday, Novak Djokovic may have thought he had made the Australian government bend. The new cancellation of his visa puts him de facto in a very uncomfortable position. Because even if his lawyers have appealed, he is supposed to return to an administrative detention center on Saturday, before a (decisive?) federal hearing scheduled for Sunday.
“My first feeling is that of a huge mess”
Bernard Giudicelli, former president of the French federation and current vice-president of the international tennis federation, agreed to respond to Europe 1: “My first feeling is that of a huge waste. I respect the government’s decision But Novak’s situation today is disappointing for all the people who are involved in tennis, not just himself or those around him, but also for the other players, for the tournament which is a Grand Slam tournament, and of course for all the fans.”
“Knowing Novak, I wouldn’t understand why he got himself into such a mess”
Bernard Giudicelli continues: “The relationship I had with Novak is the opposite of everything that is conveyed about him. I have always had someone charming, dedicated, who loves his sport, who is d ‘extreme rigor. I find it hard to understand how someone who is as rigorous as him can find himself in such a situation […] Normally, each local protocol must be clearly communicated, at the right time, so that everything is respected by the players and the officials and that it is effective. […] Knowing Novak, I wouldn’t understand why he got himself into such a mess.”
Will the situation have an impact on Novak Djokovic’s image?
Although he has as many Grand Slam titles as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, the Serb does not have the same public support. Bernard Giudicelli recalls that “Novak is a divisive player. You just have to see the number of fans who were connected to follow [ce vendredi] the audience live on the internet and who expressed themselves on the networks. This episode, of course it’s not going to improve his image, but I’m not sure it hurts the support that his fans give him. What shocks me the most is that he still won the Australian Open nine times. Nine times, you realize! […] It will still be necessary to ask the question about the way Tennis Australia handled this affair. It’s in their DNA. It goes back to when Björn Borg didn’t play the tournament. They are terrified that the best players won’t come.”
A race against the clock is in any case engaged by the lawyers of Djokovic, who is supposed to play on Monday. A participation that appears more and more uncertain.