Andy Murray has labelled Novak Djokovic's deportation from Australia and the saga that preceded it "a sh**show".
One of the most extraordinary episodes in tennis history ended with the Federal Court of Australia upholding the decision of the country’s immigration minister to cancel Djokovic’s visa for a second time.
The nine-time Australian Open champion found himself in a fight with the government from the moment he landed in Melbourne last week as a political storm raged over an exemption allowing him into the country despite being unvaccinated against coronavirus.
Now he is heading home, leaving the rest of the players and the tournament to try to bring the focus back to tennis.
Giving his reaction, Murray told the BBC: "Novak is someone I have known since we were 12 years old, he is someone who I respect and have competed against. I don’t like he is in this situation and I don’t like he has been in detention.
"The situation has not been good all round for anyone. Hopefully, from all sides, from the tournament and from Novak, we can make sure this doesn’t happen at any other tournaments and that something is in place ahead of time.
"It feels everything here happened extremely last minute and that’s why it became such a sh**show."
Djokovic has found an unlikely ally in Nick Kyrgios, who has been a fierce critic of the 34-year-old on other matters but turned his ire on his country for its treatment of Djokovic.
🤦🏽♂️— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) January 16, 2022
Kyrgios reacted to the result with a facepalm emoji on Twitter.
France’s Alize Cornet wrote: "I know too little to judge the situation. What I know is that Novak is always the first one to stand for the players. But none of us stood for him. Be strong @DjokerNole."
Djokovic founded the Professional Tennis Players’ Association in 2020 alongside Canadian Vasek Pospisil as an organisation to represent solely the players.
The verdict brought support from some of his fellow members, with John Isner posting on Twitter: "Nole always has and always will be class. He’s an absolute legend in my book that has brought so much good to millions around the world. This isn’t right."
Pospisil added: "There was a political agenda at play here with the elections coming up which couldn’t be more obvious. This is not his fault. He did not force his way into the country and did not 'make his own rules'; he was ready to stay home."
Seven-time major winner Mats Wilander told Eurosport: "I'm surprised and I'm shocked. I'm a little bit exhausted as well because we have been hearing about this for a week. I give Novak a lot of credit for trying, but at the same time he knew there might be the possibility that with the rules you have to be vaccinated.
"Could we have a new number one? Well, it's possible. I think so much depends on how much Novak is allowed to travel, how many tournaments he is allowed to play, and in the end, is he going to have to get vaccinated?
"His career is on the line and he might have to do something that he doesn't really want to do."
Former British number one Greg Rusedski wrote on Twitter: "This whole mess with Novak could have easily been avoided.
"If the Australian Open and Victorian Government would have said no medical exemptions are allowed to participate @AustralianOpen. You have to be double vaaxed or you cannot participate. Why did this not happen?"