The furor over Novak Djokovic’s immigration combat has totally overshadowed the tennis being performed this week earlier than the Australian Open, and Andy Murray, one in all Djokovic’s longtime rivals, weighed in minutes after reaching the singles closing of the Sydney Worldwide.
“I’m not going to sit down right here and begin kicking Novak while he’s down,” mentioned Murray, a former world No. 1. “I mentioned it the opposite day — it’s not a very good state of affairs for anybody.”
Murray, like many gamers and followers, was unclear on what may come subsequent; after his visa was canceled a second time, Djokovic’s attorneys had been quickly again in courtroom for a listening to on Friday night time.
However Murray mentioned he was looking forward to the state of affairs to be resolved.
“I believe it could be good for everybody if that was the case,” he mentioned. “It simply looks as if it’s dragged on for fairly a very long time now and yeah — not nice for the tennis, not nice for the Australian Open, not nice for Novak. Clearly, lots of people have criticized the federal government right here as effectively. It’s not been good.”
Murray mentioned he would encourage individuals to get vaccinated towards the coronavirus and in addition believed they need to be allowed to have the selection to say no the shot, as Djokovic has.
“However there are additionally penalties generally for these selections,” Murray mentioned. “The girl who gave me my third jab, she works within the hospital in Central London, and she or he informed me that each single particular person that’s within the I.C.U. and on ventilators are all individuals which are unvaccinated. So to me, it is smart for individuals to go forward and have it achieved.
“Sure, most younger, sort-of-healthy athletes are most likely going to be O.Okay., however yeah, we’ve all acquired to play our half on this one, I believe.”
On the Open’s qualifying event at Melbourne Park, crowds have been sparse this yr, however the drama round Djokovic’s presence within the nation was on almost everybody’s thoughts on Friday.
“I like my tennis, however I believe that is regardless of tennis to be sincere,” mentioned Tom Rundle, a 58-year-old from Adelaide carrying a broad-brimmed hat. “This can be a larger challenge. Everybody must comply with the foundations, and the federal government has been fairly agency on it from six months in the past actually about being vaccinated. I don’t assume that is us doing the improper factor by Novak; it’s about following the foundations, sadly.”
Petr Tretinik, a 37-year-old Melbourne resident from Slovakia, mentioned that he had lengthy adopted Djokovic’s profession carefully and had returned to the Australian Open this yr hoping to look at him once more.
“That is his event, and I believe it’s an enormous loss for the Australian Open,” Tretinik mentioned, standing subsequent to Rod Laver Area, the place Djokovic gained his 9 earlier Australian Open singles titles. “His face is in every single place right here on the event and for those who simply stroll round within the metropolis and take the trams.
“However it’s what it’s. At some stage I believe it’s turning into once more like vaccinated towards the nonvaccinated, and if Novak performs the event it would then be like an enormous win for antivaxxers. It’s a tough state of affairs.”
Roger Rasheed, an Australian who has coached a number of main gamers, together with the previous world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, mentioned Djokovic ought to settle for the second cancellation of his visa, fairly than making an attempt to contest the federal government’s determination. A listening to associated to his enchantment is scheduled for Saturday morning.
“I believe there’s a time while you’ve acquired to do what’s proper for the higher good and what’s proper for the game and your friends,” Rasheed mentioned. “And really step away and say, ‘I’ll come again one other yr and do that once more.’ The circumstances are unlucky, nevertheless it’s a really risky local weather.”