Recently exiled tennis player Novak Djokavic is considering suing the Australian government for $4.4 million, which includes the $2.75 million in prize money from the Australian Open, a tournament the world’s number one was expected to win.
“It’s well known that Novak and his family feel he was poorly treated in the quarantine hotel in Melbourne,” a source close to Djokovic’s agent told The Sun. “His mother revealed how it was full of fleas and maggots. He was kept a virtual prisoner.”
Djokovic is the nine-time winner of the Australian Open, and was looking to defend his 2021 title.
On Sunday, the world’s number one tennis player lost his appeal to remain in Australia after his visa was canceled a second time on Friday due to his decision to remain unvaccinated, and was deported from the country.
According to The Age — an Australian news outlet — Djokovic was deported due to the risk that his “vaccine skepticism posed a risk to public health and good order of Australian society.’
“This cancellation decision was made on health, safety and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement. “I welcome the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe.”
The Age reported that Djokovic was deported Sunday evening on a flight to Dubai.
“I am extremely disappointed with the court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open,” Djokovic said in a statement.
“I respect the court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country,” he continued. “I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love.”
Following a successful appeal of the Australian government’s decision to initially revoke his visa, Djokovic’s visa was canceled a second time on Friday over Australian Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke’s concerns for “civil unrest” in Australia due to Djokovic’s vaccination status.
“I consider that Mr Djokovic’s ongoing presence in Australia may lead to an increase in anti-vaccination sentiment generated in the Australian community, potentially leading to an increase in civil unrest of the kind previously experienced in Australia with rallies and protests which may themselves be a source of community transmission,” Hawke said.
Djokovic first had his visa canceled on Thursday, January 6, by Australian authorities after he “failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia.”
His lawyers challenged the decision by Australian authorities, and it emerged that Djokovic was granted the medical exemption due to recovering from COVID-19 in December 2021.
Now, Djokovic is in danger of being unable to defend his 2021 French Open title as well.
On Sunday, France approved a vaccine pass law that will require proof of vaccination in order to enter public places. This includes Roland-Garros, home of the French Open.
“The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be imposed, as soon as the law is promulgated, in establishments that were already subject to the health pass,” the French Sports Ministry said according to Reuters.
“This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson,” the ministry continued. “And this until further notice.”
The ministry said that while things could change between now and the start of the French Open, there would be “no exemptions” to the vaccine requirement.
“Now, as far as Roland Garros is concerned, it’s in May,” the ministry added. “The situation may change between now and then and we hope that it will be more favourable. So we’ll see, but clearly there’s no exemption.”
The French Open will be played from May 22 to June 5.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].