Australian Open: Aussie Nick Kyrgios lends unexpected support for Novak Djokovic during anti-vax clampdown

Aussie tennis star Nick Kyrgios has unexpectedly spoken out in support of world No.1 Novak Djokovic, after his rival was detained by Border Force officials over his COVID anti-vax stance.

The nine-time Australian Open champion and 20-time Grand Slam winner has had his medical exemption overturned, and awaits deportation at a Melbourne hotel, while his legal challenge is considered.

His plight has sparked internal and international political conflict, with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisting no-one is above the strict vaccination protocols required to enter the country reeling under record levels of coronavirus infection. 

But Djokovic's struggles, played out in headlines across the world, have drawn scorn from one his most outspoken critics.

"Look, I definitely believe in taking action," tweets Kyrgios. "I got vaccinated because of others and for my mum's health, but how we are handling Novak's situation is bad, really bad.

"This is one of our great champions, but at the end of the day, he is human.

"Do better."

When the COVID-19 pandemic squeezed the brakes on international sport in 2020, Kyrgios slammed Djokovic for organising the infamous Adria Tour, an exhibition event that flouted social-distancing protocols.

Several leading players contested the tournaments at Belgrade and Zadar, and were pictured recklessly partying at night, while the rest of the world was in lockdown.

The Zadar event was abandonned, and further stops in Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina cancelled, after Bulgarian Gregor Dimitrov tested postive for COVID. Days later, Djokovic, wife Jelena and fellow Serb Victor Troicki also contracted the virus

"Hell of a tennis player," Kyrgios posted at the time. "May go unbeaten in 2020, can't take that away from him.

"Unfortunately, when he was supposed to show some leadership and humility, he went missing.

"Majority would say he has taken an 'L' regardless."

Djokovic later apologised and insisted the event was organised with the best of intentions.

At last year's Aussie Open, Kyrgios referred to Djokovic as a "tool" and a "very strange cat", after the Serb tried to railroad officials into changing quarantine conditions around the year's first Grand Slam.

Djokovic responded: "He has a big game... he has proven that he has a quality to beat any player in the world.

"Off the court, I don't have much respect for him, to be honest. That's where I'll close it."