THE Australian Open got underway yesterday, marking the end of the lengthy drama involving nine-time winner Novak Djokovic.
Tennis Australia have released a statement in response to Djokovic being deported from the country, but fail to mention his name in the piece.
Djokovic lost his final appeal on the cancellation of his visa as government lawyers argued he posed an “overwhelming risk” to the public.
They claim this was demonstrated by his decision to attend work events while infected with Covid.
Tennis Australia’s 346-word passage starts by saying: “We would like to make clear from the outset that we respect the decision of the Immigration Minister and the finding of the Federal Court of Australia over the weekend.”
But there is no mention of Djokovic’s name, with the 34-year-old continuing to be omitted throughout the remainder of the statement.
It continued by saying that the saga involving Djokovic has been a ‘significant distraction’ during the preparations for the tournament.
The statement added: “As the Australian tennis family, we recognise that recent events have been a significant distraction for everyone, and we deeply regret the impact this had on all players.
“There are always lessons to learn, and we will review all aspects of our preparation and implementation to inform our planning – as we do every year.
“That process always starts once the Australian Open champions have lifted their trophies.”
The tournament got underway yesterday, and Andy Murray is through to round two after an epic five-set win over 21st seed Nikoloz Basilshvili.
Elsewhere teen sensation Emma Raducanu kicks off her first major campaign since winning the US Open later on Tuesday morning.
But the tournament will be without 20-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic, who has beaten Murray in the final of the Australian Open FOUR times in the past.
After 12-days of uncertainty regarding his status in the country, a three-judge panel at a federal court unanimously upheld the decision to cancel his visa.
He was was first given his marching orders following a six-hour stand-off at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport when first arriving in the country.
And Djokovic will be waiting some time before another appearance at the tournament.
He’s set to be banned from the Australian Open for the next three years after breaking the country’s strict Migration Act.