Lisa Wilkinson blasts Novak Djokovic over visa drama: 'Lacking grace'

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·Lifestyle Editor
·3-min read
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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
  • Lisa Wilkinson
    Australian journalist and television presenter

Lisa Wilkinson has blasted nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, just hours before it was revealed he is set to be deported after his visa was revoked by the Australian government.

Djokovic was left stranded overnight in a police-guarded room at Melbourne airport amid a visa mix-up that could derail his hopes of defending his Australian Open title.

Lisa Wilkinson on The Project
Lisa Wilkinson has fired up at Novak Djokovic over his Australian Open visa scandal. Photo: Channel 10

Last night, The Project host Lisa Wilkinson fired up at the tennis player over his Instagram post, where he announced he was on his way Down Under as he had received an “exemption permission” to play in the tournament.

“I think everyone knows someone who's really suffered through Covid, if not many, many, many people,” Lisa said on the Channel 10 show.

'We know people who've lost loved ones, who weren't there to say goodbye to them.

“And in the end, people are just sick of superstars being given special treatment and that’s the category that this looked to fall into.

“And it probably didn’t help Novak that you were lacking a bit of grace in your announcement of the whole thing, it was all a bit ‘let’s go!’.”

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Novak Djokovic holding up a tennis racket
Novak Djokovic is set to be deported after his visa was revoked by the Australian government. Photo: Getty Images

Her co-host, Peter Helliar, asked if perhaps Novak did have a legitimate reason to be granted an exemption, to which fellow co-host Hamish Macdonald replied: “One of the reasons, as I understand it, is that you can get an exemption under ATAGI rules is if you've had Covid within the last six months.”

It comes after the tennis ace took to Instagram on Wednesday to write: “Happy New Year, everybody! Wishing you all health, love, and happiness in every present moment and may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.

“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022 !!”

Novak Djokovic standing beside his luggage before flying to Australia for the Australian Open 2022
It comes after Djokovic uploaded a photo to Instagram, saying he had been granted an exemption to enter the country. Photo: Instagram/Novak Djokovic

The world No.1 is now set to file an injunction to stop the deportation.

The extraordinary, escalating soap opera surrounding the world's best men's player arrived to a political storm and a visa controversy as he jetted into Tullamarine Airport after a 14-hour flight from Dubai.

Djokovic may have been armed with the vaccination exemption that will allow him to compete in Melbourne but apparently not with the correct visa to enter the country.

Djokovic was still awaiting permission early on Thursday after it emerged that his team had applied for a visa that does not allow for medical exemptions.

That prompted the local government of Victoria to say it would not support Djokovic's application, putting his fate in the hands of the federal government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Additional reporting by AAP

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