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It was confirmed on Sunday that tennis star Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, had been deported from Australia following a last-ditch effort to remain in the country to compete at the Australian Open.
The world number one was initially given an exemption to enter the country without a vaccination but border officials denied him entry and his visa was cancelled.
BREAKING: Novak Djokovic's visa has been cancelled and he will likely no longer be allowed to play in the Australian Open.— SPORTbible (@sportbible) January 14, 2022
He will be deported and a 3 year ban from Australia is 'likely'. pic.twitter.com/trAtl1ZbRw
In a dramatic turn of events, the decision was overturned in court but Australia Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said his presence may risk “civil unrest” as he is a “talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment”, and the verdict was overturned.
Judges then rejected a last-ditch challenge from Djokovic, with the government cancelling his visa on "health and good order" grounds.
Hours after the news emerged, fellow Serbian Nemanja Matic made his feelings known online with a strong message of support.
In a post to his Instagram story. the 33-year-old uploaded a picture of the six-time Wimbledon champion with the caption; “Your glory and their shame will live forever.”
Nemanja Matic on Instagram: pic.twitter.com/9tsQV7v52B— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) January 16, 2022
This isn't the first time Matic has sent a message of support to the tennis star.
Back in 2020, Djokovic tested positive along with fellow tennis players Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki after they all took part in the Adria Tour - a tennis tournament the Serbian helped organise.
Matic went on to slam Djokovic's critics when he received backlash for the event amid the ongoing pandemic.
“I see that in the last few days, there has been a campaign against Novak Djokovic for organizing a tournament in Belgrade, although according to the laws of the state of Serbia, everything was in order and it was organized at a high level," Matic said.
“Despite that, the mice have come out of their holes giving themselves the right to criticize the world number one, both in terms of tennis, but also in his attitude toward all the people in the world.
“However, I’m not worried. Very soon the cat (read, Nole) will be on the court, and the mice back in the hole.
“The tournament was great and I hope it will become traditional, because our tennis deserves it.
“The only thing I hold against Novak that he apologized to the mice who criticize him for no reason.
“No, Nole. They will be apologizing to you – soon.”
Djokovic said he was "deeply sorry" that the tournament caused harm.
Djokovic, meanwhile, has said he is "extremely disappointed" with the court ruling to dismiss his visa application.
"I'd like to make a brief statement to address the outcomes of today’s Court hearing," said Djokovic in a statement via The Age.
"I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this.
"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.
"I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.
"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.
"I would like to wish the players, tournament officials, staff, volunteers and fans all the best for the tournament.
"Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans and my fellow Serbians for your continued support. You have all been a great source of strength to me."
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