Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says Novak Djokovic only has himself to blame as the tennis star risks being deported over a visa controversy that erupted after he was granted a vaccination exemption.
Djokovic — a noted anti-vaxxer who has publicly opposed mandatory jabs — flew into Melbourne on Wednesday night after revealing he had received an exemption to play in the Australian Open.
But his visa was rejected and the world No 1 is being held in a Melbourne hotel as he waits to challenge the decision to boot him out of the country in court on Monday.
Joyce had little sympathy for Djokovic's situation, telling the BBC: "If he hasn't filled out the forms appropriately then he's taking the sovereign capacity of another nation for a joke.
"He's got to understand you've been graced by God with a certain talent but that certain talent does not rise above the sovereign rights of other nations.
"If you wander off into our country and don't tell us the truth, we're going to kick your a**e out of here as well."
Speaking to Channel 7's Sunrise on Friday morning, Joyce also referred to the letter sent by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt to Tennis Australia explaining that having contracted Covid-19 within the past six months was not a valid reason for a vaccination exemption.
The letter from Hunt, dated November 29, stated that quarantine-free entry to Australia required people to be fully vaccinated and that those who had "contracted Covid-19 within the past six months ... and have not received two doses of a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved or recognised vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated".
Before Djokovic flew to Australia, he posted on Instagram that he was participating in the tennis tournament with an "exemption permission", but didn't elaborate further. It is believed he was relying only on the fact that he had been infected in that timeframe.
"I woke up early and I started reading through the correspondence between Greg Hunt and Tennis Australia. I don't think Greg could have been any clearer," Joyce said.
"He said you've got to be double vaxxed. You can't just say that you've had Covid as a reason for you to get an exemption.
"Greg, the Minister for Health, was absolutely black-and-white clear to Mr Djokovic about what his responsibilities and the expectations were and now we've got this confusion.
"The Victorian Government decided they wanted Mr Djokovic in and Tennis Australia probably wanted Mr Djokovic in — but they don't make the decision. It's the Federal Government."
Tennis Australia has not revealed why Djokovic originally qualified for a vaccination exemption, but TA boss Craig Tiley has called on the Serbian to publicly explain why he received one.