Djokovic vaccine stance ‘can’t be defended’ as he’s told to ‘take one for team’

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova refused to defend Novak Djokovic’s decision to not get vaccinated as his saga surrounding his entry into Australia grips the sporting world.

The world number one sensationally won an appeal on Monday against the Australian government after they cancelled his visa last Thursday. Djokovic argued he had a vaccination exemption allowing him to play in the Australian Open, but his exemption was only signed off on by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government rather than the federal government.

He arrived in the country to compete in the opening Grand Slam of the season only for border guards to reject his documents and place him in detention.

Officials ruled Djokovic did not meet the exemption criteria whereby all non-Australians had to be fully vaccinated against Covid.

Following the Serb’s successful appeal on Monday, the Australian government agreed to revoke their decision to cancel his visa. It means Djokovic will be released from detention and get his passport and other personal items back.

Immigration minister Alex Hawke can personally intervene and decide to cancel his visa anyway – which would see Djokovic banned from Australia for three years.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Navratilova suggested the controversy was 'getting crazier by the minute', and insisted she couldn't defend the Serb's choice to remain unvaccinated.

“It’s unbelievable, what a saga. It could have been avoided. I just wish Novak had taken that vaccination to begin with,” the 65-year-old said. “I admire him so much but I can’t defend the choice to not get vaccinated.

“You have to take one for the team. It’s getting crazier by the minute.

“We’re in such close contact in the locker rooms. I couldn’t wait to get vaccinated. I admire Novak and I know what it takes to be that committed.

“I would be much more scared of getting sick from not being vaccinated than whatever side effects I might have from the vaccination. You really need to be more aware of everybody else.”

Djokovic is hoping to compete at the Open in a bid to become the most-decorated men's singles player of all time. The Serb is currently level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 major titles each.

Australian Open qualifying begins on January 10, with the full tournament kicking off a week later and concluding on January 30.

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