The stand-off between Novak Djokovic and the Australian government might not be over just yet, with the world number one reportedly planning to wage a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
Djokovic, who was deported from the country and forced out of the Australian Open in his infamous visa saga, is now weighing up whether to sue for mistreatment, for a figure thought to be in excess of $6 million, according to a report from UK newspaper The Sun.
A source close to the Serbian’s agent Edoardo Artaldi said the squalid conditions of Djokovic’s detainment in the Park Hotel, which was ‘full of fleas and maggots’, is behind the desire to take on the government once again.
“It’s well known that Novak and his family feel he was poorly treated in the quarantine hotel in Melbourne,” the source said.
“His mother revealed how it was full of fleas and maggots. He was kept a virtual prisoner.”
The reported figure is substantially more than Djokovic would have taken home had he won a record tenth Australian Open title, with the prize money sitting at $2.875 million for the 2022 tournament.
The 20-time grand slam champion returned to Serbia during the week.
The news comes as Djokovic looks set to endure further difficulties at the world’s most prestigious tennis events in 2022, should he continue to refuse the COVID-19 vaccination or reveal his vaccination status.
The French health ministry have announced vaccine passes will be mandatory for all players at this year’s Roland Garros, which starts in May. He could also be forced to miss the US Open should the country’s mandate that all overseas visitors provide proof of vaccination remain in place.
On Thursday, Justice James Allsop confirmed Djokovic’s deportation was on the grounds that his presence in Australia would incite anti-vax sentiment.
“An iconic world tennis star may influence people of all ages, young or old, but perhaps especially the young and the impressionable, to emulate him,” a document published online reads.
“This is not fanciful; it does not need evidence. It is the recognition of human behaviour from a modest familiarity with human experience.
“Even if Mr Djokovic did not win the Australian Open, the capacity of his presence in Australia playing tennis to encourage those who would emulate or wish to be like him is a rational foundation for the view that he might foster anti-vaccination sentiment.”