Nick Kyrgios weighs in on the Novak Djokovic visa fiasco
Nick Kyrgios weighs in on the Novak Djokovic visa fiasco to DEFEND his bitter rival despite the pair’s long-time feud and their VERY different views on the Covid vaccine
- Kyrgios said the way Djokovic’s situation was being handled was ‘very bad’
- He urged Australians to ‘do better’, reminding them the tennis star was ‘human’
- Kyrgios has fired plenty of shots at the Serbian star throughout Covid pandemic
- He famously called Djokovic a ‘tool’ and ‘very strange’ during tensions last year
Nick Kyrgios has defended his rival Novak Djokovic as he fights deportation back to Serbia – while blasting Australia’s handling of the world No.1’s visa debacle.
‘Look I definitely believe in taking action,’ Kyrgios wrote on Twitter . ‘I got vaccinated because of others and for my mum’s health, but how we are handling Novak’s situation is bad, really bad.
‘Like these memes, headlines, this is one of our great champions but at the end of the day, he is human. Do better.’
His comments may come as a shock to many tennis fans, given Kyrgios has made plenty of cracks at the Serbian star during the Covid pandemic as tensions between the pair soared.
The Aussie player famously called Djokovic a ‘tool’ for issuing a list of recommendations to improve quarantine for players at last year’s Australian Open.
Djokovic hit back and declared that away from the tennis court, ‘I don’t have much respect for him’.
The world No.1’s unlikely ally in Kyrgios shows just how large of an impact the Serbian’s potential absence from the tournament has had on the tennis fraternity.
Nick Kyrgios has defended his rival Novak Djokovic amid his visa debacle while blasting the Australian government’s handling of the situation
The tennis star said Australians needed to ‘do better’ in their handling of Djokovic’s situation
Kyrgios took a pop at Djokovic prior to the start of the Australian Open last year by calling him a ‘tool’
Kyrgios had a crack at Djokovic for dancing in a nightclub during his Adria Tour amid Covid-19
Serbia’s foreign affairs ministry has meanwhile hit out at Australia’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa, saying the world No.1 was the victim of a political game.
Australia’s ambassador to Belgrade, Daniel Emery, was summoned to the ministry and urged to make personal efforts to help Djokovic.
The federal government on Thursday cancelled Djokovic’s visa, which he needed to enter the country for the Australian Open, due to him not meeting vaccination requirements needed for entry.
The Serbian ministry said Australia had acted in bad faith towards the tennis star.
‘Starovic emphasised that the Serbian public has a strong impression that Djokovic is a victim of a political game against his will, and that he was lured to travel to Australia in order to be humiliated,’ the ministry statement said.
‘Novak Djokovic is not a criminal, terrorist or illegal migrant, but he was treated that way by the Australian authorities, which causes understandable indignation of his fans and citizens of Serbia.’
A protest note was also sent by the Serbian government to its embassy in Canberra, following the visa decision.
The Serbian superstar has argued he had a vaccination exemption allowing him to travel to Australia.
But it appears he only had an exemption provided by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government to participate in the competition.
Djokovic is now being held in an inner-north Melbourne hotel while he awaits a court challenge to his visa cancellation.
HISTORY OF TENSION BETWEEN NICK KYRGIOS AND NOVAK DJOKOVIC
Last year Nick Kyrgios labelled Novak Djokovic ‘very strange’ and said he would not be taking any advice from a man who ‘partied with his shirt off in a pandemic’ in a brutal jibe during an ongoing feud.
The tennis stars’ war of words escalated ahead of the 2021 Australian Open when Djokovic said he did not ‘have much respect’ for Kyrgios due to his criticisms of the Serb’s behaviour during the pandemic.
Kyrgios earlier described Djokovic as a ‘tool’ on social media after he made suggestions about how quarantine conditions could be improved for other players.
‘He’s a very strange cat, Novak is. Heck of a tennis player. But someone who is partying with your shirt off in a pandemic… I don’t think I can take any slack from that man,’ Kyrgios wrote in February last year.
The comment regarding the shirt points to Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour.
While official tennis competition halted globally, the Serb decided to take matters into his own hands to create his own exhibition event, bringing together a number of the world’s top players with fans also invited to watch it all unfold.
There appeared to be no social distancing and no masks, with one clip that surfaced showing players celebrating together on a night out with some even removing their shirts.
Borna Coric, Grigor Dimitrov and Viktor Troicki all contracted Covid-19, before Djokovic himself also tested positive alongside his wife.
Djokovic claimed criticism of the event was a ‘witch-hunt’ and he said ‘if I had the chance to do it again, I would.’
Kyrgios was one of the most vocal critics of the world No 1 and the Australian believes no such criticism can be sent back in his direction for how he has behaved during the pandemic.
‘I’m not quite sure how he can’t respect me off the court,’ Kyrgios added.
‘I feel like I’ve gone about things extremely well, especially during the pandemic I was – I mean, driving around delivering food to people during the pandemic that didn’t or couldn’t get the supplies.
‘I was extremely careful about what I was doing. I didn’t want to spread the virus to anyone.
‘Now I’m actually trying to donate meal kits to people that need food. I have my foundation. So it’s very strange to me as why he would say he doesn’t respect me off the court. I actually do a lot off the court.’
Nick Kyrgios (left) took a shot back at Novak Djokovic (right, at Adria Tour event he organised last summer) and said he could not take slack ‘from someone partying in a pandemic’
Djokovic and Kyrgios have had a history of tensions amid the Covid-19 pandemic
The federal government on Thursday cancelled Djokovic’s visa to enter the country for the Australian Open due to him not meeting vaccination requirements needed for entry
The Aussie player famously called Djokovic a ‘tool’ for issuing a list of recommendations to improve quarantine for players at last year’s Australian Open
The case is set to be heard on Monday.
The hotel is also used to house asylum seekers, and Serbia’s foreign ministry has called on the federal government to give Djokovic better accommodation.
‘Serbia does not want to influence the upcoming decision of the Australian judiciary in any way,’ the statement.
(Serbia) expects that the authorities of the country, in the spirit of good bilateral relations between Australia and Serbia … allow Djokovic to spend (time) in better accommodation.’
Meanwhile, Victoria’s acting premier Jacinta Allan said the state government was not informed by Tennis Australia unvaccinated tennis players would not be allowed into the country.
Djokovic was granted a medical exemption by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government to be able to compete in the upcoming Australian Open.
Djokovic is now being held in an inner north Melbourne hotel while he awaits a court challenge to his visa cancellation
The Commonwealth wrote to Tennis Australia last year advising the organisation that unvaccinated arrivals would not be let in and that a recent virus infection would not be a valid exemption from the requirement.
Ms Allan said while the federal government told Tennis Australia about the vaccination requirements, it was not passed on to the state government.
‘I’m advised that members of the Victorian government hadn’t seen that correspondence, we wouldn’t necessarily see it,’ she told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.
‘But it reinforces that point that it is the commonwealth government that’s responsible for issuing visas, and how they engage in that dialogue with Tennis Australia is a matter for them.’
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has revealed border officials are investigating two other arrivals into Australia for the Grand Slam tournament for similar visa breaches for being unvaccinated.
‘If Australia Border Force becomes aware there is an issue, they will continue to investigate and make sure that Australia’s entry requirements are maintained,’ she told the Seven Network on Friday.
‘(ABF) will continue the investigations and once it is finalised, I’m sure that I will be briefed.’
Djokovic’s family in Serbia has rallied around the champion, accusing the federal government of keeping him in captivity and comparing him to Jesus.
‘They’re keeping him in captivity. They are trampling on Novak and thus they are trampling on Serbia and the Serbian people,’Djokovic’s father Srdjan said at a news conference in Belgrade on Thursday.
The Australian Open begins on January 17.
Protesters have gathered outside the hotel where Djokovic is being held in Melbourne
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