SCOTS tennis legend Andy Murray was accused of being "filled with prejudice" by GB News host and Brexit champion Nigel Farage as they spoke out in the wake of the Novak Djokovic row.

Mr Farage, the Brexit Party leader spoke out after being trolled on social media by the former Wimbledon champion after posting a video of himself in Belgrade with the Djokovic family.

The TV news host who has long praised Australia’s strict immigration policies, had attacked Australia's treatment of Djokovic while travelling to Belgrade to visit the Serbian tennis star's family.

On Monday Mr Farage, the face of Brexit, tweeted his satisfaction after a judge ruled a government decision last week to revoke the tennis star’s visa was “unreasonable”.

The decision was “a huge win for @DjokerNole this morning”, Mr Farage said, when Djokovic was released from immigration detention after winning his challenge to remain in the country and pursue his attempt at a record 21st grand slam title.

Djokovic's victory was over an appeal against a decision to refuse him a visa in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia ahead of the Australian Open.

The world number one had been detained at an immigration facility in Melbourne since Thursday morning after his visa was cancelled following scrutiny of the medical exemption he had secured to travel to the first tennis major of the year.

Mr Farage also told GB News that if – as he is entitled to do – the country’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, decided to intervene and withdraw Djokovic’s visa once more on different grounds, Australia would resemble a banana republic.

“I mean, is Australia a country based on the rule of law, or is it a country where governments can exercise arbitrary power?” Farage said. “If that judgment this morning is overruled, what’s the difference between Australia and a banana republic?”

He said Australian authorities had used “really nasty tactics” against Mr Djokovic, and called judge Anthony Kelly’s decision “the first really big victory” against “the big state which has grown so much over the past two years of the pandemic”.

Mr Murray, Britain’s former world tennis No 1, then retweeted Mr Farage’s video with Djokovic’s family and asking him to “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 former Ukp leader said in 2015 that he would prefer immigrants from India and Australia to eastern Europeans, despite previously claiming that his party would not want to discriminate against new arrivals by nationality.

He indicated that he would prefer immigration from countries he said had the most similar cultures to the UK as he was grilled about his approach to immigration.

Asked by BBC presenter Evan Davis whether he would favour immigrants from some countries over others, he said: “I have to confess I do have a slight preference. I do think, naturally, that people from India and Australia are in some ways more likely to speak English, understand common law and have a connection with this country than some people that come perhaps from countries that haven’t fully recovered from being behind the iron curtain.”


Mr Farage was also featured alongside a controversial anti-migrant Breaking Point poster designed to convince EU referendum voters to support Brexit.

The poster, depicting a line of desperate refugees trying to reach Europe, was launched by Mr Farage with a sub headline: "We must break free of the EU and take back control of our borders."

Mr Farage responded to Mr Murray's social media jibe saying: "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." He concluded the tweet with an emoji featuring a smiling face and open mouth.

Mr Murray, in turn responded with a simple tweet featuring another emoji, featuring a fishing pole and a fish.

In 2014, Mr Farage told LBC: “I actually want us to have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory, because at the moment we discriminate in favour of people from Poland, or Romania, or Bulgaria, regardless [of] who they are, and we discriminate against people from New Zealand … or from India, or Canada, or whatever else it may be. We’ve got our, I think, our priorities completely wrong here. And we should not be discriminating on grounds of nationality.”

The official Vote Leave campaign spent more than £2.7m on targeting ads at specific groups on Facebook - helping it to win the 2016 EU referendum - including which focused on prime campaign issues including immigration. One advert said: "Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are joining the EU. Seriously. Vote Leave."

Mr Djokovic, a long-term vocal opponent of mandatory vaccination, told border officials he was unvaccinated and had had Covid-19 twice, with the more recent positive test dated 16 December, according to a transcript of an interview with customs officials.

The judge in the case said appeared Djokovic had received medical exemption from Covid vaccination on the basis of that infection, and ruled the player was not given enough time to consult advisers so he could respond fully to the cancellation decision.

Mr Farage said he “believed firmly in freedom of choice” and if Mr Djokovic had decided not to be vaccinated, that should be up to him.

Mr Djokovic said he was  “pleased and grateful” that his appeal against a decision to refuse him a visa allowed him  to “stay and try to compete” at the Australian Open.

But Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke is still considering whether to exercise a personal power of cancellation of Mr Djokovic’s visa in a process that could drag on for a number of days.

The world number one tweeted: “I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen.

“I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.

“For now I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong.”


At a press conference staged by the Djokovic family in Belgrade, his mother Dijana described her son’s successful appeal as “the biggest win of his career – bigger than any of the grand slams he has won”.

She added: “He has done nothing wrong. He hasn’t broken any of their laws, but he was subjected to torture, to harassment.

“He fought against that system and against that government because he thought had the right to be there with the visa that he got, and he went there to win that tournament.”

Djokovic’s brother Djordje revealed that he has already returned to the tennis court for the first time since his detention as he bids to make up for lost time ahead of his prospective start next week.

“Novak is free – a few moments ago he trained on a tennis court,” said Djordje.

“He went to Australia to play tennis, to try to win another Australian Open and to win a record that he has been chasing for so many years.”

But in a sign of the unease still surrounding the situation, the Djokovic family ended the press conference by refusing to answer questions about his reported positive test on December 16, and pictures of him attending public events in the days that followed.

And Djokovic’s plans could still be scuppered if Hawke exercises his right to over-rule the court’s decision.

A spokesman for Minister Hawke, in a statement released to AAP, said: “Following today’s Federal Circuit and Family Court determination on a procedural ground, it remains within Immigration Minister Hawke’s discretion to consider cancelling Mr Djokovic’s visa under his personal power of cancellation within section 133C(3) of the Migration Act.

“The Minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing.”


It was reported Mr Hawke may have only a four-hour window in which to consider cancellation of Djokovic’s visa, but the rule did not apply in this case because the 34-year-old had not been re-interviewed.

Amid continued confusion over Mr Djokovic’s fate, Serbian supporters clashed with police outside the court building and Goran Djokovic, the player’s uncle, accused the authorities of treating the reigning Australian Open champion like “an animal” in an interview with GB News.

Earlier, Mr Djokovic was removed from detention to be with his lawyers during the hearing, and Judge Anthony Kelly expressed agitation over the rejection of Djokovic’s medical exemption.

After Mr Djokovic’s lawyers argued their case, Judge Kelly asked the court “What more could this man have done?” in relation to fulfilling the expected requirements for a medical exemption.

The minutes of the court transcript also noted that Djokovic had not been given adequate time to respond to the notification to cancel his visa.

“Here, a professor and an eminently qualified physician have produced and provided to the applicant a medical exemption,” Judge Kelly said.

“Further to that, that medical exemption and the basis on which it was given was separately given by a further independent expert specialist panel established by the Victorian state government and that document was in the hands of the delegate.”

At a press conference, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison was asked by a reporter to respond to comments from Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley stating he was given conflicting government advice on medical exemptions.

Morrison said: “Well, the matter is before the court so I can’t comment on the matter before the court … but in relation to the government, our government, the federal government’s advice to Tennis Australia, that was set out very clearly in November, as I read the extract from this very podium, it could not be more clear.”

It was revealed in court documents submitted by Mr Djokovic’s lawyers that the player had been infected with Covid-19 in December 2021. The documents said the infection was the basis of Djokovic’s medical exemption.