Two of Australia’s highest profile news presenters have been caught in leaked footage calling unvaccinated tennis champion Novak Djokovic an ‘a***hole’ while preparing for the nightly news.
7News Melbourne presenters Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor slammed the controversial player in a foulmouthed, hot mic rant that was later leaked online.
Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, jetted Down Under last week for the tournament, carrying a medical exemption from vaccination citing he had tested positive to Covid on December 16 last year.
He was quickly detained at Melbourne Airport after border officials refused to accept the exemption, sparking five days of legal wrangling before a judge ordered his release on Monday, asking in frustration: ‘What more could this man have done?’
But the judge’s comments clearly weren’t enough to placate the two news presenters.
Their expletive-laden rant, which appears to have taken place as they prepared to present the station’s 6pm news program, included Ms Maddern saying: ‘whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a***hole.’
The 7News stars called Djokovic (pictured training in Melbourne on Tuesday), the world’s greatest tennis player, an ‘a***hole’ in a fiery rant caught on a hot mic
Mr Amor even makes the astonishing claim Djokovic lied to get into Australia.
‘He got a bullshit f*****g excuse and then fell over his own f*****g lies. It’s just what happens, right, that’s what happened,’ he says.
His co-host says that there were multiple errors made in the process of cancelling and then reinstating Djokovic’s visa to play at the Australian Open.
‘It is unfortunate that everyone stuffed up around him,’ Ms Maddern says.
‘I don’t think anything was gained by putting him in (an) immigration hotel.’
Mr Amor says he thinks a lot of Australians would agree with his view of Djokovic.
Rebecca Maddern (pictured, left) was heard repeatedly slamming the tennis star, while colleague Mike Amor (right) quickly joined in on the rant
Djokovic’s release from immigration detention has provoked outrage and celebration in equal measure, after days of fans camping out outside his hotel (pictured)
The presenters’ embarrassing hot mic mishap was released on social media late on Tuesday night, quickly drawing traction from viewers – some supporting their comments and some slamming the pair
7NEWS STARS’ ASTONISHING DJOKOVIC RANT
Rebecca Maddern: ‘Whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky a***hole.’
Mike Amor: ‘He’s an a***hole.’
RM: ‘Like whatever way you look at it, it’s unfortunate that everybody else stuffed up around him.
MA: ‘That’s it, I mean he’s an a***hole.’
MA: ‘He got a bullshit f*****g excuse and then fell over his own f*****g lies. It’s just what happens, right, that’s what happened.’
RM: ‘Yeah. And then, he now then ticking he didn’t go to Spain.’
MA: ‘Yeah, yeah.’
RM: ‘It’s just like…’
MA: ‘I think he’s going to get away with it.’
RM: ‘Oh, he is. He’s going to get away with it.’
MA: ‘I think most fair minded people would say “Look, the bloke’s an a***hole”. Did we, did they do the right thing by him, I don’t know.’
RM: ‘No. I don’t think so.’
MA: ‘They f****d it up. That’s the problem, isn’t it?’
RM: ‘I don’t think, I don’t think anything was gained by putting him in (an) immigration hotel.’
MA: ‘No, but the trouble is, how do you justify the person (who is) also on the same plane with him who also has…’
RM: ‘You can’t justify it, but the fact is, life is never fair.’
RM: ‘Some people fly first class and some people, do you know what, it’s never fair.’
MA: ‘Yeah. But that poor Czech girl that was f*****g sent home. Hunted down and sent home.’
‘I think most fair minded people would say – “Look, the bloke’s an a***hole”. Did we, did they do the right thing by him? I don’t know.’
‘No. I don’t think so,’ Ms Maddern replies.
‘They f****d it up. That’s the problem, isn’t it?’ says Mr Amor.
He adds that ‘I think he is going to get away with it.’
Ms Maddern agrees, saying: ‘Some people fly first class and some people, do you know what, it’s never fair.’
Just one week into her role as a Channel 7 newsreader, the leaked footage is not the kind of start the network hoped Ms Maddern would have.
‘I think most fair minded people would say “Look, the bloke’s an a***hole”. Did we, did they do the right thing by him? I don’t know,’ Amor commented (pictured, Djokovic training at Melbourne Park on Tuesday)
7News Melbourne presenters Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor were quickly slammed by viewers online – but some were more sympathetic
The 44-year-old recently said she had landed her dream job at the Seven network.
‘It is a job of a lifetime; these opportunities don’t come up very often,’ she said.
‘You only have to look at the main anchors and how long they have been in those roles, so it is not lost on me how lucky I am.’
She added: ‘It is a real honour to be leading the team alongside Mike Amor.’
Maddern began working at Seven in 2002, serving as a news reporter on programs such as Seven Afternoon News and Sunrise.
She left Seven in 2016 and immediately signed with Nine.
Novak Djokovic claimed on his entry form that he had not travelled in the 14 days leading up to his arrival in Melbourne shortly before midnight on January 5 after flying in from Spain
DECEMBER 25, SERBIA: A photo uploaded to Twitter on Christmas Day shows Djokovic with handball player Petar Djordjic in Belgrade
Maddern confirmed in late October she had walked away from Nine after almost six years at the network.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Network Seven seeking comment.
It comes just hours after the revelation that Djokovic could face jail after Australia’s Border Force launched a fresh investigation into whether the tennis world number one lied on a travel declaration form before entering the country.
Federal rules on the matter state: ‘Giving false or misleading information to the Australian Government is a serious offence. If convicted, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 12 months.’
Court documents released as part of the row over Djokovic’s visa show his declaration form stated he would not travel to any other countries in the 14 days prior to boarding his flight to Australia on January 4.
In answer to the question: ‘Have you travelled, or will you travel, in the 14 days prior to your flight to Australia?’ whoever filled out the form selected ‘no’.
DECEMBER 31, SPAIN : Video uploaded by a tennis training academy on New Year’s Eve purports to show Djokovic training in Marbella
JANUARY 2, SPAIN: Another image uploaded to Twitter by a fan appears to show Djokovic training in Marbella last week
LEFT – JANUARY 4, SPAIN: Novak Djokovic in Marbella playing soccer on the tennis court with his brother Marko and the coach before going to Australia. RIGHT – JANUARY 5, AUSTRALIA: Novak Djokovic stands at a booth of the Australian Border Force at the airport in Melbourne on January 5 after arriving from Spain, via Dubai
That means the 34-year-old tennis player would have needed to remain in the same country since December 21.
But social media images appear to show that he was in Belgrade, Serbia, on December 25 and then in Marbella, Spain, from December 31 until catching his flight to Australia, via Dubai.
It is not clear whether admitting he had travelled to Spain would have automatically disqualified Djokovic from coming to Australia – however, lying on a travel declaration document is punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
News of the investigation is just the latest twist in the Djokovic border saga which saw him thrown in immigration detention on January 5 when the Australian government ripped up his visa for not being vaccinated.
Novak Djokovic tweeted this picture late on Monday night, thanking fans for sticking by him as well as the judge who ordered his release
Pictured: Novak Djokovic during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open, in Melbourne on Tuesday
After overnight questioning at Melbourne airport, border officials decided the exemption was not valid, cancelled his visa and transferred him to a detention centre pending deportation.
However, he was freed by a judge on Monday, sparking both anger from those who felt he was being given preferential treatment and celebration from his supporters.
There has also been a backlash to Djokovic’s claim that he tested positive for Covid-19 on December 16, as on December 17 he took part in an open PR event and was pictured hugging children at an award ceremony in Belgrade. It is unclear whether he knew he had Covid when the photographs were taken.
He is now free in Melbourne where he has been pictured training at the Rod Laver Arena, but his fate is still not assured after Australia’s immigration minister threatened to use his personal powers to shred the tennis star’s visa.
HOW SOCIAL MEDIA GAVE THE GAME AWAY
December 25: Belgrade, Serbia, Djokovic is pictured in a social post with handball player Petar Djordjic
December 31: Marbella, Spain, Djokovic is filmed training on New Year’s Eve in a video uploaded by a tennis training academy
January 2: Marbella, Spain, Djokovic is pictured training at Puente Romano beach resort
January 4: Marbella, Spain, Djokovic is pictured playing football on a tennis court with his brother before later boarding flight in Spain via Dubai to Australia
January 5: Melbourne, Australia, arrives early AM and is pictured at Australian border gate
According to his sworn affidavit, Djokovic departed Spain on January 4 and had a stopover in Dubai before landing in Melbourne late on the night of January 5.
The timings mean Djokovic would have had to be in Spain from 11.30pm on December 22 AEDT, (1.30pm Spanish time) to comply with the rules not to travel within two weeks of arriving in Australia, the Herald Sun reported.
But social media posts show Djokovic playing tennis in the streets of Belgrade on December 25 while another post shared on the same day by Serbian handball star Petar Djordjic shows him posing with the tennis star.
‘ONE AND ONLY !!!!! Thank you for the picture and for the nice wishes,’ Djordjic captioned the photo.
Six days later on New Years Eve, footage emerged of Djokovic having a hit out on the tennis court in south-east Spain.
‘We can confirm Novak Djokovic is ready for the Australian if possible!’ Soto Tennis Academy captioned the footage.
A close-up photo posted by the academy shows Djokovic using tennis balls emblazoned with the Australian Open logo.A
The maximum penalty for providing false or misleading information to the Australian government is 12 months imprisonment.
The travel declaration form itself states: ‘Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence. You may also be liable to a civil penalty for giving false or misleading information.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the ABF for further comment.
Djokovic was finally released from five days in immigration detention following Monday’s court ruling on Monday.
The court decision sparked wild scenes from supporters on the streets of Melbourne and tournament directors are now on high alert amid fears of violence in the stands should Djokovic play next week.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has refused to rule out using his personal powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa yet again and boot him out of the country – sparking a furious response from one-time tennis star and MP colleague John Alexander, who warned about the future of the Open.
‘So what would be the ‘public interest’ the Minister could potentially use to exercise his personal powers to deport our defending Australian Open tennis champion?’ Mr Alexander posted on Monday night.
‘The minister’s ‘personal powers to cancel visas’ are designed to prevent criminals otherwise walking our streets, or to prevent a contagious person otherwise walking our streets; they’re not designed to assist in dealing with a potential political problem of the day.’
Following the court decision, which the government says was ‘on a procedural ground’, Mr Hawke is considering whether to use his discretionary personal powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa.
Fans became increasingly agitated when their hero failed to emerge from his lawyers’ office on Monday evening – sparking a stand-off with police
Rebecca Maddern and Mike Amor are seen in a screengrab from the video, released online on Tuesday night
‘The minister is currently considering the matter and the process remains ongoing,’ a spokesman said.
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce admitted he was wrong about the tennis star in a strong hint he may not be deported.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Serbian counterpart has requested direct liaison between governments about issues over Djokovic’s visa.
The prime minister’s office said Mr Morrison had a constructive call with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić on Tuesday morning.
In the call, Mr Morrison explained Australia’s non-discriminatory border policy and its role in protecting the country during the Covid pandemic.
The two leaders agreed to stay in contact on the issue, and to further strengthening their bilateral relationship.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NOVAK DJOKOVIC’S CASE
Will Novak Djokovic play at the Australian Open? Nobody will know until the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke declares his hand – either to allow Djokovic to stay in Australia or to re-cancel his visa.
If he does not decide to cancel his visa, Djokovic will be free to stay in Australia and defend his title.
What happened in court? Judge Anthony Kelly quashed the decision to tear up Djokovic’s visa and ordered him to be freed and his belongings to be returned.
Will he still be deported? Again, this comes down to immigration minister Alex Hawke. The Djokovic case has been a debacle for the government and divided Australians over the best course of action.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has refused to rule out using his personal powers to cancel Djokovic’s visa yet again and boot him out of the country (pictured, Djokovic training in Melbourne on Tuesday)
Serbia’s public broadcaster, RTS, reported the Serbian prime minister asked Mr Morrison to ensure the tennis star was treated with dignity.
‘The (Serbian) prime minister especially emphasised the importance of the conditions for training and physical preparation for the upcoming competition, considering that Novak Djokovic was not allowed to train in the previous days, and the tournament in Melbourne starts this weekend,’ RTS reported.
‘The prime minister also asked (Mr) Morrison to be in direct contact in the coming days and for all information to be exchanged directly between the government of Serbia and the government of Australia.’
It comes as the fallout over the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa – which was then overturned – continues to make international headlines.
Members of the Serbian community (pictured) are seen marching through Melbourne on Monday night, with the scene soon becoming violent as protesters crashed with police – leading to many being pepper-sprayed
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Australian Open was bigger than one player but that he was not lobbying Mr Hawke to act either way.
‘I’m not going to be out there every day calling for him to use them or not use them, that’s a matter for him,’ he said. ‘He ought to do that free of any pressure, free of any public debate.’
In quashing Border Force’s decision, Judge Anthony Kelly was critical of the hours-long airport interview and said the player had not been given enough time to contact lawyers and tennis officials to discuss his predicament.
The tennis star (pictured, training in Melbourne on Tuesday) was quick to thank his fans for their support – but is still facing a final immigration hurdle
Supporters of Serbian Novak Djokovic chant and sing outside the offices of lawyers following his court win on Monday
Djokovic had been granted a medical exemption to enter Australia by the Victoria state government based on evidence he contracted Covid last month – the second time he had been infected.
The player, who has long opposed mandatory vaccination, confirmed during the interview he was unvaccinated.
The Australian Open begins on January 17. Djokovic has won the tournament, one of four tennis Grand Slams, for the past three years and nine times in total.
If he wins this year, he will become the most successful male tennis player of all time, with a record 21 Grand Slams under his belt.