Australia’s deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce insists Novak Djokovic must "abide by the rules" like everyone else, with the Australian Open less than a week away.
The world number one has been drawn against Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round at Melbourne Park, despite reports that the country’s immigration minister could revoke his visa ahead of the event.
Djokovic has been seen practicing on-court ahead of the event as he bids to defend his Australian Open crown.
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Should the Serb win for a 10th time in Melbourne, he would seal a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, moving him one clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The Serb was denied entry into Australia after arriving in the country, before being moved to an immigration detention centre for five days while his legal team appealed the decision to revoke his visa.
He has since won his appeal to remain in the country - a decision that has prompted outrage among some onlookers and critics.
All foreign visitors to Australia must either be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a medical exemption, but Djokovic and his team argued that a positive test in mid-December meant he was exempt from such rules.
On Monday, a judge dramatically overturned the decision to revoke his visa after it was revealed that border officials had not followed proper procedure.
The decision to allow the 34-year-old a medical exemption to play at the Grand Slam has drawn criticism from fellow players, including Joao Sousa and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Meanwhile, Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has said he is “embarrassed” by the way his home country has dealt with Djokovic’s situation.
Now the deputy PM has stated that Djokovic should not have a “different set of rules to what everybody else has to deal with”, adding that the world number one is “no better than ordinary citizens".
"I think, you have to be frank; the vast majority of Australians said [they] didn't like the idea that another individual, whether they're a tennis player or the king of Spain or the queen of England, can come up here and have a different set of rules to what everybody else has to deal with," he said.
Whether they agree with the rules or not, they believe they should abide by the rules, and that was the issue with Mr Djokovic.

Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.

Image credit: Getty Images

“Let's see where it goes from here… I've made my views clear.
“I might not agree with the fact that I have to be tested to go from New South Wales into Queensland but I do [it’. Why? Because that is the law.
“He is no better. He is still a child of God like the rest of us, isn't he? So he has got to abide by the laws."
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