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TENNIS

Djokovic situation is bad for tennis, Murray says

Andy Murray believes Novak Djokovic’s situation ahead of the Australian Open does not reflect well on anyone involved, nor the game of tennis in general.

Djokovic is currently in immigration detention at the Park Hotel in Melbourne.

The world number one received a medical exemption to rules requiring coronavirus jabs and was set to feature in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.

He is the champion and has won the tournament nine times.

However, Djokovic’s visa application was rejected by Australian border force officials.

The Serbian star will now await the outcome of a hearing, set to take place on Monday, to determine whether he will be allowed to compete or be deported.

Murray, a five-time Australian Open runner-up, cannot see how the situation looks good for anybody.

“I think everyone is shocked by it to be honest,” former world number one Murray, who is preparing himself for the season’s first grand slam, told reporters.

“I’m going to say two things on it just now. The first thing is that I hope that Novak is OK. I know him well, and I’ve always had a good relationship with him and I hope that he’s OK.

“The second thing I’ll say on it, is it’s really not good for tennis at all, and I don’t think it’s good for anyone involved.”

Four of Murray’s five defeats in Australian Open finals came against Djokovic, who the Scot has not had contact with.

“[I need to] wait and hear exactly what the situation is before commenting on it further, because again I don’t think it’s fair because some of it is speculation,” Murray said.

“Some stuff has come out that really doesn’t look good, either. I want to hear all the facts first before giving all of my thoughts on it.”

Djokovic’s lawyers, in their appeal document sent to the court, disclosed that the 34-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 in December.

They added that it was under these grounds that they sought a medical exemption.

Rafael Nadal said this week that Djokovic could have made life easier for himself by getting vaccinated, or disclosing his vaccine status, and Murray echoed those sentiments.

“It’s not for [Nadal] to say what the right thing to do is, but to listen to the experts on those subjects, and I feel the same,” Murray added.

“I can accept that young healthy athletes, if you contract coronavirus, are probably going to be OK. But I trust what I’m getting told by the scientists and the doctors.

“It’s not about listening to what politicians or government are telling me to do, it’s more listening to the doctors and the scientists, and the people that really know about that stuff.”

(dpa/NAN)

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