DP World Tour stars Eddie Pepperell and Scott Hend have spoken up in support of Novak Djokovic following the world No.1 tennis star's deportation from Australia.
Djokovic, 34, boarded a flight bound for Dubai from Melbourne on Sunday after failing to overturn a decision from the Aussie government to cancel his visa on public health grounds.
The Serb, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, had flown to the country on January 5 where he hoped to defend his Australian Open title. Had he won the trophy for a tenth time this month, he would have claimed the record of most grand slam singles titles outright.
However, upon arrival ‘Down Under’, Djokovic had his visa cancelled and was detained in an immigration hotel. Whilst that decision was overturned, the Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke elected to cancel the tennis star’s visa again on Friday.
Consequently, the first grand slam of the year will now begin tomorrow without the three-time defending champion.
The story has made international headlines, with opinion split over whether or not the correct decision has been reached.
Pepperell and Hend, it seems, have sided with Djokovic.
Englishman Pepperell, who has used his Twitter account to air his concerns over the handling of the pandemic, tweeted: “I know there are some out there who are still feeling hysterical about Covid, but this Djokovic situation is a joke. He’s no danger to anyone (in the non tennis sense).
“Let’s just get on with our lives again. It’s pathetic.”
Australian Hend echoed those sentiments in a post of his own.
“It doesn't matter if you like Novak Djokovic or not,” wrote the three-time DP World Tour winner. “The way this was handled should make everyone worried and concerned with the overreach of the Government. As was stated in Court, "he did NOTHING illegal”. They deported him because they didn't like him and felt threatened.”