Iconic rugby coach: Novak Djokovic was more likely to get disease than to give it
by DZEVAD MESIC | VIEW 3968
Former Kiwi rugby player and coach Wayne Smith says he understands the message the Australian authorities were trying to send during the Novak Djokovic visa debacle but thought they "politicized" the whole thing. After announcing that he was granted a medical exemption for the Australian Open, Djokovic flew to Australia.
Djokovic was met by the Australian Border Force, who revoked his visa and placed him in detention. Djokovic didn't get a chance to play in Australia as he was deported after losing his Australia visa appeal. Smith, who is considered as one of the greatest coaches in the rugby history, gave his thoughts on the Djokovic saga.
"I understand the message they (the Australian government) are sending. But they politicised the whole thing to make a point. That’s what annoyed me. Djokovic was Covid negative and more likely to get the disease than to give it.
However, it seems like he told some untruths which didn’t help," Smith told Stuff. "He's my favourite tennis player. When I first started following him he was weak. He pulled out of a couple of tournaments. He didn't persevere.
I thought, gee, this joker's got all the skills but he hasn't got the mentality. Then all of a sudden he turned it round."
Djokovic plans to return to Australia
Djokovic went through a very unpleasant experience in Australia last month but still Melbourne Park holds a special place in his heart as he is a record nine-time champion at the Australian Open.
“I will always remember all the nice things that happened for me in Melbourne. I had a lot of professional and personal beautiful moments there. Despite all this, I have a great connection with Australia. Results that I had in Melbourne show you how I feel when I go there," Djokovic told RTS.
“Everything that has happened this year was totally unexpected. It will be hard to forget, but I want to come back to Australia in the future and to play on Rod Laver Arena again”.