Andy Murray says he hopes the Novak Djokovic visa situation can be resolved and that he will not “kick him while he is down”.
Djokovic saw his visa canceled last Friday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who said he did so “in the public interest” and in doing so also raised the possibility that world No. 1 could face a three-year exclusion from the country.
Murray was on the field when the news came, beat Reilly Opelka 6-7 6-4 6-4 in Sydney to reach his first final since 2019 when he won the title in Antwerp.
The former world number 1 has repeatedly stated his support for vaccination against Covid-19, but refused to criticize his unvaccinated rival Djokovic, whom he has known since the couple were teenagers.
“It’s not a good situation,” Murray said.
“I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak while he’s down.
“It’s not a good situation for anyone.
“I do not know which way he goes down if he can appeal it and you know how long it takes and can he still be out practicing while that process is going on or still competing in the tournament? I have no idea, what the situation is with it, I just want it to be resolved. “
Djokovic was granted a medical exemption from vaccination by Tennis Australia due to a previous infection within the last six months, but these reasons were not considered sufficient by border officials.
His visa was subsequently annulled but reinstated on appeal before the federal government annulled it again. Djokovic is expected to appeal.
Vaccination was made mandatory for players wishing to take part in the Australian Open, and more than 95 per cent of men’s and women’s top 100 have received at least two jabs – including Murray, who got his booster in the UK before heading to Australia.
“Ultimately, people have to make their own choices,” Murray added.
“But there are also consequences sometimes for those decisions.
“My faith and what I’ve seen and read and looked at data and everything, especially recently, in the UK … the lady who gave me my third plug, she works at the hospital in central London, and she told me, that every single person who is in the intensive care unit and in the respirator is all persons who are unvaccinated.
“So for me, it makes sense for people to go ahead and get it done. Yes, most young, healthy athletes should probably make it, but yes, we all have to play our part in this, I think.”