Farage clashes with tennis great Murray over Djokovic
Novak Djokovic rival Andy Murray has been credited with the 'tweet of the year' after clashing with Nigel Farage, accusing the British broadcaster of building his controversial career on deporting people from Eastern Europe.
GB News presenter Farage is better known for being the leader of the right-wing populist UK Independence Party from 2006 to 2009 and 2010 to 2016.
The key Brexit figure has had his nose firmly wedged in Novak Djokovic's visa saga while the tennis world number one battles deportation from Australia over his vaccination status despite receiving a medical exemption to take part in the Australian Open.
Accusing Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews of not "being straight" over the scandal, Farage claims he has been spending time as a guest of the Serb superstar's family, updating fans and uploading a video to Twitter hours before the start of Djokovic's hearing in which the icon's brother, Djordje, showed the politician around the 20-time Grand Slam title winner's trophy room in Belgrade.
In Belgrade with the Djokovic family. Waiting for the result of the visa hearing, watch this space. 🇷🇸 pic.twitter.com/S8dACn9U3z— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 9, 2022
Please record the awkward moment when you tell them you’ve spent most of your career campaigning to have people from Eastern Europe deported.😉 https://t.co/rfFn1hdXlu— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) January 9, 2022
The irony of the footage in light of Farage's anti-immigration views was not lost on Djokovic's former doubles partner Andy Murray, who was beaten by 'Nole' in four finals on the 34-year-old's path to a record nine Australian Open wins.
Quote-tweeting the clip which had been seen two million times early on Monday, Murray wrote: "Please record the awkward moment when you tell them you’ve spent most of your career campaigning to have people from Eastern Europe deported."
The Scot's outburst has already received close to 150,000 likes and was dubbed the "tweet of the year" despite 2022 being only nine days in.
This is undoubtedly the Tweet of the Year and we’re only 9 days in.— John Hilson (@JohnHilson) January 9, 2022
Covid vaccine advocate Murray, who has a good relationship with the unvaccinated Djokovic, has said that he would be "surprised" if the reigning champion missed out on defending his crown in Melbourne over his treatment status.
But he also hoped that he could feature before Djokovic headed Down Under as, saying that he wants "all of the best players to be playing in the biggest events."
"It’s what makes the events more interesting and he’s also going to try to win and break the record, winning a 21st slam. His record there is phenomenal, so hopefully he’ll be there."
A huge win for @DjokerNole this morning. If the Australian government fight this they will look dreadful.— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 10, 2022
'If that judgement this morning is overruled, what's the difference between Australia and a banana republic?'@Nigel_Farage suggests Australia risks becoming a 'banana republic' if Novak Djokovic's court victory is overturned.#FarageOnGBNewspic.twitter.com/IwFa5cgHoX— GB News (@GBNEWS) January 10, 2022
Farage called the ruling by a judge that Djokovic could be freed a "huge win". "If the Australian government fight this they will look dreadful," he added, telling Murray: "You clearly don't understand politics or the Brexit campaign but are filled with prejudice.
"Concentrate on the tennis and – a word of advice – crack a smile every now and again."
Farage portrayed himself in a snowy Belgrade as he provided his reaction to the verdict, which some suspect is unlikely to spell the end of the fiasco.
Dear Andy, you clearly don't understand politics or the Brexit campaign but are filled with prejudice.Concentrate on the tennis and, a word of advice, crack a smile every now and again. 😃 https://t.co/8s943WUSQ1— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) January 10, 2022
"Hooray, everyone thought," said the supportive 57-year-old. "The sting in the tail is that the Australian immigration minister [Alex Hawke] has the right to overrule the call, so arbitrary power could be used over the rule of law and the threat of him being re-arrested."
The former Brexit Party leader claimed that Australian officials had threatened Djokovic with being banned from the country for three years if he was re-arrested rather than leaving of his own free will, calling that "bullying" and "really nasty tactics".
"This is the first really big victory against the big state which has grown so much over the course of the last two years since this pandemic began," he said.
"Hey, he hasn't had the vaccine – that's up to a young, fit athlete like Djokovic. But of course, as long as you've been tested, what's the problem? This is a big victory for freedom of choice and common sense."
The former Member of European Parliament added on GB News that a reversal of the ruling would risk Australia becoming a "banana republic".
The Australian Open is scheduled to take place from January 17-30 2022.