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Martina Navratilova tells Novak Djokovic to ‘go home’ and walk away from Australian Open

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
  • Martina Navratilova
    Martina Navratilova
    American-Czech tennis player

Martina Navratilova has told Novak Djokovic to do “the right thing” and “go home”.

Djokovic is currently preparing for the Australian Open in Melbourne, which begins on Monday, after his visa was initially revoked and then reinstated while he was held in a government facility by the country’s Border Force.

The men’s world No1 is not vaccinated against Covid-19, something required by Australia’s strict border controls. Djokovic claimed his December bout of the disease satisfied the demands of Tennis Australia and the state of Victoria to allow him an exemption to enter the country, but his exemption was rejected by authorities on arrival.

Although a county judge reinstated his visa, Djokovic still faces the possibility of being sent home from Australia as the immigration minister Alex Hawke decides whether to intervene and deny the Serbian the chance to win a men’s record 21st Grand Slam.

“The best thing for Novak to do I think would be just say ‘you know what, there are too many mistakes, this is not OK and the right thing to do is just to go home,” Navratilova told Sunrise on Thursday. “It’s just the right thing to do, but I don’t think he will do that because he wants that 21st title.”

Navratilova, who won 18 singles Grand Slam titles including three Australian Opens, believes Djokovic should set aside his personal anti-vaccination beliefs for the good of the tennis community and wider society. 

“Your personal beliefs have to be trumped by what is good for the greater good for those around you a your peers,” she said. “If I were in the same situation and I didn’t want the vaccine, worried what it may do to my body, everyone else is doing it because it is the right thing to do and the country demands it.

“He had a choice not to get vaccinated and he had a choice not to play and he had a choice once he tested positive not to go out.”

A final decision from minister Hawke on Djokovic’s fate is expected on either Thursday or Friday.

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