The 34-year-old Serbian tennis player was deported from Australia on Sunday after his second appeal to reinstate his visa was rejected. Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” but accepted the ruling and left on a flight to Dubai.
In a statement, the Tennis Australia (TA) board said it “deeply regrets” the events that led the world’s best male tennis player to travel to Australia under the impression he had a medical exemption that meant he did not need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The statement read: “The board and Member Associations commend the Tennis Australia CEO (Tiley) and the entire Tennis Australia team for their hard work and dedication to delivering a spectacular summer of tennis.
“As the Australian tennis family, we recognise that recent events have been a significant distraction for everyone, and we deeply regret the impact this had on all players.
“There are always lessons to learn, and we will review all aspects of our preparation and implementation to inform our planning – as we do every year. That process always starts once the Australian Open champions have lifted their trophies.
“Australia has a strong and proud tennis tradition, and it has been fantastic to see the crowds out cheering for the world’s best players in the lead up to and over the opening days of the Australian Open.
“We, like the players, and all tennis fans here and around the world, are keen for the focus to now be on the game we are all so passionate about.”
Many sports enthusiasts have come out in support of the World no 1 tennis player.
Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam titles during her own illustrious career, told The Tennis Channel: “I think it’s one word short of word salad.
“It doesn’t tell me anything at all. Really that is just so, blah. Why bother? Why bother?” she said.
One Twitter user, Michael Pool Sanchez, hailed the Australian government and said: “#DjokovicOut finally! Well done, Australia. No privilege for billionaires.”
Another user, Nurse64, tweeted: “#DjokovicOut because he is an egotistical pk who thinks not only do the rules not apply to him, but he can lie and falsify immigration documents and vaccination forms to suit his needs and Australia rules be damned, send the pk home.”
Djokovic was originally granted a medical exemption to enter Australia by two different independent health panels – one commissioned by Tennis Australia, the other by the state government of Victoria – after testing positive for coronavirus in mid-December.
However, the Australian Border Force detained him on January 5 for not meeting federal coronavirus requirements, and his visa was revoked.