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Melbourne residents voiced frustration over the ongoing Novak Djokovic saga with several telling Reuters on Thursday they think the tennis star should get “booted” from Australia.
It remains unclear whether Djokovic, the winner of a record-equalling 20 Grand Slam titles, will be allowed to compete at next week’s Australian Open amid a dispute with the Australian government over his medical exemption to taking the coronavirus vaccine.
Djokovic’s announcement last week that he had an exemption despite being unvaccinated was met with uproar in Australia, which is battling an Omicron wave of infections and where more than 90% of the adult population is double vaccinated.
Lyn Oakes, a local nurse, told Reuters she thinks the media attention has complicated the issue but that she still believes Djokovic’s visa should be cancelled for him not having met the country’s “guidelines.”
“I’m not sure what will happen because now it has attracted so much international media attention, and now it’s going to look probably unfavourable in an international spotlight if his visa is cancelled. But his visa probably should be cancelled because he’s not here under the guideline,” Oakes said.
Australia’s Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, was still considering on Thursday whether to cancel Djokovic’s visa, a decision that could come at any time.
Melbourne resident Tyler Agnew said it was anyone’s guess what Hawke would do, but said he believes the Serbian should be booted.
“No one can stuff up that badly on little things like that, that’s just pretty basic stuff. I reckon he should and will boot him,” Agnew said, referring to Djokovic on Wednesday blaming human error for mistakes in his immigration paperwork.
Djokovic has been training and preparing to defend his title here since a judge ordered him released from an immigration detention centre this week after his visa was first cancelled by border officials.
It remains to be seen if he will be allowed to participate and have the chance to break the men’s record and win a 21st Grand Slam title.