Bologna F.C. manager Sinisa Mihajlovic claims Novak Djokovic is a victim of mismanagement at the Australian Open.
On Tuesday, Djokovic announced he was granted a medical exemption for the Australian Open.
After landing in Melbourne on January 5, Djokovic was detained at the airport for nine hours before the Australian Border Force decided to cancel his visa.
Djokovic was then transported to an immigration hotel, where he is awaiting his visa court hearing.
“It’s a tricky situation, to me, organisers are at fault,” Mihajlovic said, per Corriere dello Sport
“They should have followed the Government’s guidelines and don’t guarantee Djokovic that he would play. If he went to Australia, it means that there were the conditions to give him a medical exemption.
“To me, Djokovic is a victim, he is not the man responsible for this mess. It’s ridiculous to the world’s No 1-ranked male tennis player locked inside a deportation hotel, even if that could shed light on the condition of asylum seekers.”
‘They made Djokovic an anti-vaxx hero’
“They should have respected the rules. By doing what they did, they made Djokovic become an anti-vaxx hero,” Mihajlovic added.
Paul McNamee, a former Australian Open tournament director, said Djokovic “played by the rules.”
“It’s not fair. The guy played by the rules, he got his visa, he arrives, he’s a nine-time champion and whether people like it or not he’s entitled to fair play,” McNamee told ABC News.
“There’s no doubt there’s some disconnect between the State and the federal government. I hate to think politics are involved but it feels that way.
“He was following the rules. Now you might be angry that he was given an exemption, but players need to have confidence that the rules they abide by are going to be enforced. It’s not fair to him. Whether you like the rules or not, he doesn’t make the rules – so he deserves his day on court and not in court, in my opinion.”