'Novak Djokovic was willing to go to these lengths', says former No.1

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'Novak Djokovic was willing to go to these lengths', says former No.1
'Novak Djokovic was willing to go to these lengths', says former No.1 (Provided by Tennis World USA)

Former NBA great Yao Ming was asked about Novak Djokovic's visa case. Djokovic refused to be vaccinated before the season, but traveled to Australia after receiving a medical exemption. During his 10 days in Australia, Djokovic's visa was canceled twice and he was detained twice.

On Sunday, Djokovic lost his Australian visa appeal and left Australia. Ming, a former eight-time NBA All-Star, said he is not familiar with Australia's pandemic measures, "so I'm not in a position to comment on whether he did it right or wrong." However, Ming offered the perspective of himself as a former athlete.

"Speaking as a former athlete, I think it's a shame that a player misses out on such an opportunity and viewers miss out on an opportunity to enjoy watching the player's skills," Ming said, according to Yahoo! Sports. "I would like to make a brief statement to address the outcome of today's court hearing.

I will now take some time to rest and recover, before making any further comments beyond this," Djokovic said in a statement. "I am extremely disappointed with the Court's failure to discuss my request for judicial review of the Minister's decision to cancel my visa, which means that I am unable to stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.

I respect the ruling of the Court and will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country. It bothers me that the focus of the last few weeks has been on me and I hope that now we can all focus on the game and tournament that 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 Serbs for their continued support. You all have been a great source of strength for me."

Djokovic is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world

Tennis legend John McEnroe has slammed the saga which led to Novak Djokovic being deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open.

"Okay, let’s assume that he wasn’t going to play, but then suddenly he got Covid and then he got an exemption and he can play," McEnroe said. "You can’t tell him after he flies all the way there. That’s why people are up in arms, but nonetheless they granted this exemption.

You can’t do this after that - it’s a joke." The American then defended the 34-year-old for standing by his views and suggested this trait has helped him become one of tennis' greatest players. "You’re talking about a guy that was potentially about to break Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s record (of 20 men's Grand Slam titles, which the Serb shares) and that he was willing to go to these lengths - 'I don’t want to get vaccinated but I’m going to do whatever it takes'," McEnroe added.

Novak Djokovic Australian Open