Novak Djokovic is 'not bigger' than the Australian Open, which has proved to be a 'great success' without him, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has said.
Djokovic's arrival in Melbourne prior to the event provoked one of the biggest crossover sports stories of recent years, with the Serb's unvaccinated status and visa complications triggering a polarised debate over his participation and ultimate deportation.
Section 133C(3) of the Migration Act was used by Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time. Under this ruling, the 20-time Grand Slam champion will not be able to get another visa into Australia for three years.
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Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley had hinted that Djokovic would likely be able to compete at Melbourne Park in 2023 when he addressed the "miscommunication" that had been behind the debacle.
But Andrews has weighed in with his forthright thoughts on the matter, with the picture much less rosy for the 34-year-old, while he also held up Rafael Nadal as the example to follow.
"My position is very clear. You want to come here, get vaccinated. It’s pretty simple," Andrews said.
"Rafa [Nadal] had it right. It could all have been avoided if he just got vaccinated, and that fellow [Djokovic] might think he’s bigger than the tournament. He’s not. That is why the tournament is happening without him, and it’s a great success.
"To Mr Tiley and all of his team, I wish them well as they enter the second week. This is a major event. It is the biggest thing in tennis in the first quarter of every year. Melbourne, London, New York and Paris are connected by some things. One of them is tennis, Grand Slam tennis.
"This event is much bigger than any one person. There was one person who thought differently, he’s not in the country, and the tournament is happening, so that is fantastic."

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Nadal had said at the time: "Almost one week ago, when he won in the first instance, the case, he was able to get back his visa and start practising. I said the justice had spoken.
"If the justice says his visa is valid and he’s able to play here, the justice has spoken, so that’s the fairest thing, that he deserves to play here. Yesterday, the justice said another thing. I will never be against what the justice says.
"Another thing is what I believe personally, and what I believe is the ideal situation personally, no? The ideal situation in the world of sport is that the best players are on court and playing the most important events, without a doubt. That’s better for the sport, without a doubt.
"If Novak Djokovic is playing here, it is better for everybody, no doubt about that. Another thing is what happened. As I said in the beginning, I can’t say another thing because I believe that the situation is very clear now.
"He’s not the only one that probably did the things bad in that case,” Nadal continued. "Of course, there are more [people] responsible in this terrible situation that we faced for the last two weeks. But of course, he is one of those responsible, too.
"So on a personal level, yes, I would like to see him playing here. If it is fair or not that he’s playing here is another discussion that I don’t want to talk any more about."

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