Former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee has warned the Australians that their reputation as a great sporting nation could take a major hit if world No. 1 Novak Djokovic gets deported.
Djokovic’s visa was cancelled by the Australian Border Force but he appealed the decision.
Djokovic has a visa court hearing scheduled for Monday.
“Novak Djokovic, perhaps the foremost athlete on the planet, is here to defend his title. He was approved to fly here by Tennis Australia, the Vic Govt & the Prime Minister himself. He followed our rules. If deported, our reputation as a great sporting nation may never be the same,” McNamee tweeted.
“This is the last thing I will say before the court rules. I’m very uncomfortable that the #1 player in the world boarded a plane having every reason to believe he could defend his title, only to be detained. But, as an Australian, I fully respect it is now for the court to decide.”
McNamee wants Djokovic to play
Djokovic has been defending Djokovic right from the start.
“He is the only player that I’ve ever known in the history of the Australian Open that has had his visa rescinded,” McNamee told the ABC News a few days ago. “Players need to know with confidence that if they’re flying round the world to events, there’s not going to be this sort of problem at entry.
“It’s a problem we’ve seen over the last two years in Australia and the victim of that is the No.1 player in the world.
“He was following the rules. Now you might be angry that he was given an exemption, but players need to have confidence that the rules they abide by are going to be enforced. It’s not fair to him. Whether you like the rules or not, he doesn’t make the rules – so he deserves his day on court and not in court, in my opinion.”