Radio host Neil Mitchell has called for Novak Djokovic to be deported again over ‘unlovable’ comments he has made. after beating Australian star Alex de Minaur by Australian Open. On Wednesday night, the 21-time grand slam champion took on Andrey Rublev for a place in the semi-finals.
Djokovic is unbeaten in his last 38 matches in Australia stretching back to 2018. The winner will face Tommy Paul in the last four after the American beat compatriot Ben Shelton 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 5-7 6-4. The world No. 35 had never been past the fourth round of a grand slam before.
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The talk before Djokovic’s clash with Rubrev centered on the Serbian star’s comments about de Minaur. Djokovic wiped the Aussie off the court on Monday night in a 6-2 6-1 6-2 demolition in the fourth round.
But Djokovic and de Minaur’s frosty relationship emerged after the match, with Djokovic hinting that the pair don’t like each other. Speaks in Serbian, Djokovic referred to comments from Minaur about him in 2022 when he was critical of his vaccination stance.
Djokovic was infamously deported from the country ahead of the Australian Open last year when he had his visa canceled due to his vaccination status. De Minaur said at the time that Djokovic had “taken a lot of focus away from us competitors”.
“Look, Australians have been through a lot. There’s no secret about that. They’ve had it very hard. They’ve done a lot of work to protect themselves and their borders,” he said.
“When you come in, as well as any other tennis player, if you wanted to come to the country, you had to be double vaccinated. It was up to him, his choice, his judgment. Here we are.”
On Monday night, Djokovic said of de Minaur: “I respect him as a rival, a colleague that I respect everyone. I have no problem contacting him, wishing him well, etc. But I have no other relationship. I have no communication with him. He showed last year what he thinks of me.”
On Wednesday morning, Mitchell blasted Djokovic for his comments after beating de Minaur. The 3AW radio host said: “(From) what I’ve read, Novak Djokovic could get the nod.
“Novak Djokovic … I don’t care about tennis, but I hope he doesn’t win. In Serbian, he gave Alex de Minaur a real spray after the match because de Minaur had a bit of a go at him a year ago when he was excluded and then deported.
“And it was clear that Novak Djokovic held a grudge and was determined to wipe him off the court, which he did. But then he was extremely adamant about his victory and in a foreign language.
“So he doesn’t think it will come back to Australia? It has come back to Australia.” Mitchell added with a laugh: “Got to deport him again, deport him for being ruthless.”
Alex de Minaur questions Novak Djokovic’s injury
At his own fiery press conference, de Minaur also seemed to be asking questions the severity of a hamstring injury that Djokovic has dealt with throughout the Australian Open. In his on-court interview, Djokovic said he didn’t feel the damage against Djokovic at all.
“I don’t know. You tell me how you thought he looked out there,” de Minaur said when asked about theories that Djokovic might be ‘faking’ the injury. “When I played him, I thought he was moving say pretty well, so… I don’t know.
“Look, I don’t know. I think everybody can kind of see what’s happened over the last few weeks. That’s all everybody’s been talking about.
“Today I was out there in court against him. Either I’m not a good enough tennis player to reveal it, or it looked good to me. He was just too good in every aspect.”
Djokovic said he first suffered the injury at the Adelaide International against Daniil Medvedev. He has been wearing heavy bands on his hamstring through the Australian Open.
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