Andy Murray expresses sympathy for long-time rival Novak Djokovic

16 January 2022 - 16:45
By Reuters
Andy Murray lost to Novak Djokovic in four previous Australian Open finals.
Image: Martin Sidorjak/Getty Images Andy Murray lost to Novak Djokovic in four previous Australian Open finals.

Former world number one Andy Murray expressed sympathy for Novak Djokovic after the Serbian's hopes of winning a record 21st Grand Slam title at this year's Australian Open ended on Sunday at the conclusion of a long-running visa saga.

A Federal Court's decision to uphold a government decision to cancel Djokovic's visa means the nine-times Melbourne champion will be heading home as the tournament starts on Monday.

Murray, who has lost four Australian Open finals to his career-long rival Djokovic, said he felt for his old junior rival.

"It is not great for the tournament because it is better when all of the top players are playing in the event," wildcard Murray was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"There are obviously going to be a lot of questions about what has happened here and the situation he has been in.

"Novak is someone I have known since we were 12 years old, he is someone who I respect and have competed against. I don't like he is in this situation and I don't like he has been in detention."

The furore over the unvaccinated Djokovic's medical exemption from Australia's strict Covid-19 rules has completely overshadowed the build-up to the Australian Open and Murray criticised the handling of the situation.

"The situation has not been good all round for anyone.

"It feels everything here happened extremely last minute and that's why it became such a mess," Murray said.

"Hopefully, that won't be the case at other events so there is no other situation like this.

"I wouldn't want that for Novak, don't want that for tennis and hopefully it is done now."

Djokovic was first detained by immigration authorities on January 6, ordered to be released by a court on January 10 and then detained on Saturday again.