Novak Djokovic’s coronavirus row with the Australian government continues to rumble on after a two-week shake-up took a turn – with fellow tennis star Andrey Rublev claiming he was allowed to enter the country with COVID-19.
Djokovic was deported following a fortnight of controversy over his vaccination status, which ended with him being barred from Australia for three years.
The ban means he is now likely to miss the next two Australian Open tournaments, and potentially a third depending on the competition’s start date in 2025.
The Serb claimed he had a visa exemption which was ruled against – before being accepted again – and then ruled against once more, resulting in his deportation.
Now, the 20-time Grand Slam champion is in talks with his lawyers about suing the Australian government for £3.2million over their ‘ill-behaved’ case against him.
And with the news that Rublev was allowed into the country with the virus, it may spark another piece of evidence for Djokovic to use in his case.
“I am not being tested personally now because I just got over the coronavirus,” Rublev said.
“When I flew to Australia, I was still positive, but the level of Covid SS, as it is called, I will not lie, it was very low and not dangerous.
“I was allowed to enter the country.
“In addition, I spent more than ten days in quarantine.”
The ruling means that Djokovic will not be able to claim a record 21st Grand Slam to take him ahead of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
He claimed he was “extremely disappointed” that three judges dismissed his late appeal to stay in the country.
The Australian government deemed him a risk to the health and ‘good order’ of the public, which could have encouraged an ‘attitude of breach of public health regulations’.
“This is about someone who sought to come to Australia and not comply with the entry rules at our border,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“If you’re someone coming from overseas, and there are conditions for you to enter this country, then you have to comply with them.”
Rublev faces Marin Cilic in the third round.