Tennis: Kiwi doubles ace Marcus Daniell backs Novak Djokovic's Australian Open COVID-19 deportation

As Novak Djokovic awaits deportation from Australia, the men's tennis world No.1's chances of making history at the Australian Open seems increasingly unlikely.

The first Grand Slam of the year may proceed without its biggest men's name - a name now seemingly associated with the COVID-19 anti-vaccination movement. 

But Kiwi Olympic bronze medallist Marcus Daniell insists: "It's the right decision."

Just a day after Djokovic claimed he had been granted a medical exemption, the Serbian's participation in the tournament has been dashed, as he awaits deportation from the host country.

"What Melbourne and what Australia has been through over the past two years has been really difficult for the people who live here," says doubles specialist Daniell, a member of the ATP Players Council.

"If for nothing else, just a tip of the hat for what these people have gone through, I really don't think there are too many valid reasons not to do it at this point."

Djokovic's pending absence comes at a time when he could've surpassed his two greatest rivals - Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal. He's just one Grand Slam title win away from winning the most men's majors.

Off the court, Daniell believes Djokovic is trying to excel in other areas.

"It's a really bad look if someone who's been an anti-vaxxer from the start… you can't help but think he's trying to game the system."

If there was ever a place for him to do it, it was Melbourne, where Djokovic has lifted the silverware nine times, including the last three years.

Daniell believes that's no excuse.

"I hope it sends the message that you should get vaccinated."

If he doesn't, Djokovic's dynasty downunder may have to wait even longer.