Radio host Neil Mitchell has called for Novak Djokovic to be deported again over 'ungracious' comments he made after beating Aussie star Alex de Minaur at the Australian Open. On Wednesday night the 21-time grand slam champion advanced to the the semi-finals after taking down Andrey Rublev 6-1 6-2 6-4.
Djokovic is unbeaten in his last 39 matches in Australia, stretching back to 2018. He will now take on Tommy Paul in the final four after the American beat his compatriot Ben Shelton 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 5-7 6-4. The World No.35 had never previously been past the fourth round of a grand slam.
'ARE YOU PITCHING': Tsitsipas called out over Margot Robbie comment
The talk before Djokovic's clash with Rubrev revolved around the Serbian star's comments about de Minaur. Djokovic wiped the Aussie off the court on Monday night in a 6-2 6-1 6-2 demolition in the fourth round.
But Djokovic and de Minaur's frosty relationship came to light after the match, with Djokovic hinting that the pair don't like each other. Speaking in Serbian, Djokovic referenced comments de Minaur made about him in 2022 when he was critical of his vaccination stance.
Djokovic was infamously deported from the country ahead of the Australian Open last year when he had his visa cancelled due to his vaccination status. De Minaur said at the time that Djokovic had “taken a lot of spotlight away from us competitors”.
“Look, Australians have gone through a lot. There’s no secret about that. They’ve had it very tough. They’ve done a lot of work to protect themselves and their borders,” he said.
“When you’re coming in, as well as every other tennis player, if you wanted to come to the country, you had to be double vaccinated. It was up to him, his choices, his judgment. Here we are.”
On Monday night, Djokovic said about de Minaur: “I respect him as a rival, a colleague, as I respect everyone. I have no problem contacting him, congratulating him, etc. But I don’t have any other relationship. I don’t have any communication with him. He showed last year what he thinks about me.”
On Wednesday morning, Mitchell blasted Djokovic for his comments after beating de Minaur. The 3AW radio host said: “(From) what I’ve been reading, Novak Djokovic can get nicked.
“Novak Djokovic … I don’t really care about the tennis but I hope he doesn’t win. In Serbian he has given Alex de Minaur a real spray after the game because de Minaur had a bit of a go at him a year ago when he was banned and then deported.
“And it was obvious Novak Djokovic bore a grudge and was determined to wipe him off the court, which he did. But then he was extremely ungracious in his victory and in a foreign tongue.
“So does he not think that will come back to Australia? It has come back to Australia.” Mitchell added with a laugh: "Should deport him again, deport him for being ungracious.”
Alex de Minaur questions Novak Djokovic injury
In a fiery press conference of his own, de Minaur also appeared to question the severity of a hamstring injury that Djokovic has been dealing with throughout the Australian Open. In his on-court interview, Djokovic said he didn't feel the injury at all against Djokovic.
“I don’t know. You tell me how you thought he looked out there,” de Minaur said when asked about theories that Djokovic might be 'faking' the injury. "Playing him, I thought he was moving pretty well, so... I don’t know.
“Look, I don’t know. I think everyone’s kind of seeing what’s been happening over the couple of weeks. It’s the only thing everyone’s been talking about.
“Today I was out there on court against him. Either I’m not a good enough tennis player to expose that, or... it looked good to me. He was just too good in all aspects.”
Djokovic said he first suffered the injury at the Adelaide International against Daniil Medvedev. He has been wearing heavy strapping on his hamstring through the Australian Open.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.