Novak Djokovic: Vine clashes with caller defending tennis star
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Jeremy Vine confronted a caller who defended Novak Djokovic’s decision to refuse a Covid vaccine as the long-running tennis saga at the Australian Open took yet another turn. The tennis number one has swiftly moved to appeal Australia’s decision to cancel his visa for a second time over his vaccination status. The Australian decision means Djokovic could be out of the Open, which starts in just three days, deported, and receive a three-year ban from the country.
Val, from Surrey, called the Jeremy Vine Show where they were discussing whether Australia has been fair by revoking Djokovic’s visa over his right to remain in the country unvaccinated.
Val described Australia’s treatment of the Serbian tennis player as “appalling”.
Mr Vine responded: “They have taken this virus, you could argue, too seriously.
“They locked down Melbourne after just six cases a few months back. So, having been through that, they are quite rules-based.”
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He added: “And they don’t like this guy swanning in, waltzing in.”
Val said: “He hasn’t. He has met their requirements, which is that he tested positive within a certain period.”
Mr Vine rebuked this: “You weren’t born yesterday, Val.
“He has had a year to get a vaccine and he hasn’t been bothered.”
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Val replied: “It’s not about being bothered. It’s about freedom. It’s a slippery slope to mandate what goes into someone’s body.”
Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, who appeared on the programme as a guest panellist, said Djokovic was “arrogant” and “did not seem to care”.
She added: “Nobody is mistreating Novak here, this is a man who is abusing his privilege. Nobody is above the rules”
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Earlier today, Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke explained that the decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa again was based on health grounds in the public interest.
The decision leaves Mr Djokovic’s Australian Open hopes hanging by a thread.
Responding to the latest developments, Andy Murray said: “I am not going to sit here and start kicking Novak while he is down.
“I said it the other day, it is not a good situation for anyone.”
Australia is currently in the grip of an Omicron wave and seeing over 90,000 cases a day.
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