Fans aiming for Novak Djokovic could be kicked out of the Australian Open

Australian Open spectators were warned on Wednesday that they risked being sent off if they target nine-time champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian will return to the Grand Slam in Melbourne next week after being expelled on the eve of last year’s tournament for his views on Covid vaccination. His deportation has divided opinion in a city that endured some of the longest lockdowns in the world at the height of the pandemic. How he is received remains to be seen. However, the 35-year-old was given a warm welcome at the Adelaide Internationals last week with overwhelming crowds in his corner. He won the tournament.

Australian Open director Craig Tiley told the Herald Sun that any fan who wanted to mock Djokovic would not be tolerated.

“If they interrupt anyone else’s enjoyment – boom, they’re out,” he said.

“We don’t want them on the spot. They can either stay away or we’ll kick them out.”

Tiley encourages fans to “respect”.

“One thing that I’ve always enjoyed in Melbourne is the appreciation for excellence and for sport, I think more than anywhere in Australia,” he said.

“I have an expectation that people will appreciate that.”

The Australian Open begins on Monday but Djokovic’s return at Melbourne Park will actually be a ticketed exhibition match against Nick Kyrgios on Friday at the sold-out Rod Laver Arena.

Three-time champion Andy Murray said he believes Djokovic will get the respect he deserves.

“I don’t want to see players booed, it’s not a pleasant feeling when that happens,” he said at the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.

“Novak gets a lot of support in Adelaide, I’m sure it will be the same in Melbourne.”

Djokovic, one of the most successful men’s tennis players of all time, said in Adelaide the support he received there was “something I don’t think I’ve experienced too many times in my life”.

“It definitely feels like I’m playing at home,” he added.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the aggregate feed.)

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