Melbourne radio presenter Neil Mitchell has hit out at Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic for being “ungracious”, adding with a laugh that he should be deported again.
Djokovic, who was last year caught up in a huge deportation saga over his Covid vaccination status, defeated Australian Alex de Minaur 6-2 6-1 6-2 on Monday night at Rod Laver Arena in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
At his post-match press conference he answered a reporter’s question in his native language, saying he respected de Minaur as a rival and colleague but had no relationship with him and that de Minaur had “showed last year what he thinks about me”.
The Australian last year said that Djokovic has made his own choice to forego vaccination knowing that “if you wanted to come to the country, you had to be double vaccinated”.
“(From) what I’ve been reading, Novak Djokovic can get nicked,” Mitchell said on 3AW on Tuesday.
“Novak Djokovic … I don’t really care about the tennis but I hope he doesn’t win.
“In Serbian he has given Alex de Minaur a real spray after the game because de Minaur had a bit of a go at him a year ago when he was banned and then deported.
“And it was obvious Novak Djokovic bore a grudge and was determined to wipe him off the court, which he did.
“But then he was extremely ungracious in his victory and in a foreign tongue.
“So does he not think that will come back to Australia? It has come back to Australia.”
He added with a laugh: “Should deport him again, deport him for being ungracious.”
According to a translation, when speaking of de Minaur, Djokovic had said: “I respect him as a rival, a colleague, as I respect everyone. I have no problem contacting him, congratulating him, etc. But I don’t have any other relationship. I don’t have any communication with him. He showed last year what he thinks about me.”
A year ago, de Minaur praised Djokovic as “an incredible athlete”, but said he had “taken a lot of spotlight away from us competitors”.
“Look, Australians have gone through a lot. There’s no secret about that. They’ve had it very tough. They’ve done a lot of work to protect themselves and their borders,” he said.
“When you’re coming in, as well as every other tennis player, if you wanted to come to the country, you had to be double vaccinated. It was up to him, his choices, his judgment. Here we are.”
Djokovic’s controversial entrance and exit out of Australia last year made headlines around the world.
His initial visa cancellation at the hands of Border Force officials when he arrived in Australia ahead of the tournament last year was overturned in court.
But then, Alex Hawke, who was immigration minister at the time, used his discretionary power to revoke the tennis star’s visa for a second time on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so, and the grand slam champion’s legal team failed to overturn that decision.
Djokovic remained a hot topic at the 2022 Australian Open despite no longer being in the country when it actually kicked off.