Hot mic: TV anchors’ off-air critique of Djokovic goes viral

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Novak Djokovic

Defending champion Serbia’s Novak Djokovic takes a drink during a practice session at the Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. The prime ministers of Australia and Serbia have discussed Novak Djokovic’s precarious visa after the top-ranked Serbian tennis star won a court battle to compete in the Australian Open but still faces the threat of deportation because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. (Kelly Defina/Pool Photo via AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Opinions about Novak Djokovic’s visa status ahead of the Australian Open are strong — on and off the record, apparently.

Video of a conversation between a pair of TV anchors on Seven Network in Australia blasting Djokovic — and apparently unaware they were being recorded — went viral after it was posted online Wednesday.

Mike Amor and Rebecca Maddern are seen questioning apparent mistakes that appeared on Djokovic’s visa application and making personal attacks on the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

They also are heard saying the government and border authorities made a mess of the process.

Djokovic was stopped at the airport when he arrived in Melbourne last week and his visa was canceled by the Australia Border Force, which determined he didn’t meet the criteria for a medical exemption to to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination policies. That visa cancellation was overturned Monday by a judge, but Djokovic was still in limbo as of Wednesday because Australia’s immigration minister still was deciding whether to cancel the top-ranked tennis player’s visa again.

Craig McPherson, Seven Network Director of News and Public Affairs, said an investigation was underway to look into how the recording ended up online.

The Australian Open is scheduled to start Monday.

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