Novak Djokovic’s brother Djordje responded to Nick Kyrgios’ comments regarding the world number one’s visa battle to get into Australia. 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.
Despite the animosity between the pair in the past, Kyrgios took to Twitter to defend Djokovic, writing: “Look I definitely believe in taking action. I got vaccinated because of others and for my mum’s health, but how we are handling Novak’s situation is bad, really bad.
“Like these memes, headlines, this is one of our great champions but at the end of the day, he is human. Do better.”
Djokovic’s brother Djordje was speaking to Serbian TV when he responded to the Australian’s comments.
“Kyrgios showed that he is a human being before everything, he speaks his mind whether he loves you or not,” he said.
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The two men have clashed before, with Kyrgios labelling Djokovic a ‘tool’ for suggesting quarantine improvements ahead of last year’s Australian Open.
The 34-year-old responded by suggesting he doesn’t care for the Aussie off the court: “I don’t have much respect for him.”
The unlikely unity between Kyrgios and Djokovic highlights how the incident has divided the sporting world, with the world number one primed to miss the first Grand Slam of the new season.
The federal government intervened last Thursday to cancel Djokovic’s visa, which is needed to get into the country to compete in the Australian Open due to vaccination requirements.
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Djordje insists his brother did nothing wrong ahead of the tennis star’s court hearing, where he won his appeal against deportation from Australia.
“Novak is fine, we are in touch regularly,” the 26-year-old said.
“He is impressed with the support from all parts of the world. He heard the supporters in Melbourne, it gives him strength.
“He didn’t break any laws, he received all the necessary documentation.”
Border officials had previously ruled Djokovic did not meet the exemption criteria whereby all non-Australians had to be fully vaccinated against Covid.
The tennis star reportedly provided officials with a medical exemption given to him by Tennis Australia and two medical panels.
Djordje insisted the 20-time Grand Slam ‘was in an emotional whirlwind’ during his time in an immigration detention hotel in Melbourne, implying his brother was ‘the victim of politics’.
Meanwhile, Djokovic’s mother Dijana spoke out against the conditions of his detention: “Novak only has lunch and dinner, no breakfast. He told me that himself.
“Conditions are not humane, he only has a wall to stare at, can’t even see the park because there aren’t regular windows.”
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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