Djokovic’s vaccine stance leaves him short of support from fellow players | Australian Open 2022

It is 12 days (as of Sunday) since Novak Djokovic introduced he can be flying to Australia, having been granted a medical exemption in opposition to the vaccine mandate required for all players who need to play the Australian Open. In that point, public opinion in Australia has veered between outrage that he must be given an exemption in any respect to dismay and embarrassment on the method their authorities has dealt with the complete factor, throwing Djokovic right into a detention lodge and rescinding his visa for a second time.

Djokovic’s behaviour within the days after his constructive Covid-19 check – particularly the next day, when he fulfilled {a magazine} interview dedication with out telling anybody there that he was constructive – was extensively criticised and drew an apology from the world No 1. Many really feel he shouldn’t be there, however on the identical time don’t like what’s occurred to him.

What of Djokovic’s fellow players? For a person who, in 2020, co-founded a brand new players’ union (the Skilled Tennis Players’ Affiliation), designed to serve the pursuits of all players, it won’t be misplaced on Djokovic that support for him amongst his friends has been comparatively unenthusiastic. Although some have sympathised along with his plight, many imagine he ought to have carried out what they did, get vaccinated, the one sure method to make sure entry to the nation.

Half of that may be all the way down to the sophisticated nature of what has occurred to Djokovic since he arrived in Melbourne late on 5 January, believing he had a sound medical exemption, which was issued by the state of Victoria and authorised by Tennis Australia, because of him testing constructive for Covid on 16 December. Nonetheless, since a earlier an infection just isn’t a sound purpose for abroad travellers to enter Australia, Federal officers revoked his visa.


The saga has dragged on to the purpose the place Djokovic, having received an preliminary attraction, awaits an extra attraction on Sunday to see if he can defend his title. Event victory, as unlikely as that appears proper now, would give Djokovic a document twenty first Grand Slam title. There’s a lot on the road.

The ATP revealed final week that 97 of the boys’s prime 100 have been vaccinated. Many, reminiscent of Stefanos Tsitsipas, have been reluctant to get the jab at first, however did so as a result of they knew that was what was required to proceed taking part in on the Tour. Rafael Nadal mentioned in November that not getting vaccinated is “a bit egocentric”. Djokovic selected to not.

Andy Murray, a powerful vaccine advocate, mentioned he wouldn’t “kick Novak when he’s down”, including that the entire thing was “not a superb scenario for anybody”. However the Australian Alex de Minaur, the world No 42, agreed, hinted on the resentment many individuals really feel in Melbourne, which endured the longest lockdown of any metropolis on the earth.

Photographers outside the offices of Novak Djokovic’s lawyers in Melbourne. The world No 1 is trying to overturn the second revocation of his Australian visa.
Photographers exterior the places of work of Novak Djokovic’s attorneys in Melbourne. The world No 1 is attempting to overturn the second revocation of his Australian visa. {Photograph}: Mark Baker/AP

“Australians have gone by quite a bit,” he mentioned. “There’s no secret about that. They’ve had it very robust. They’ve carried out quite a bit of work to guard themselves and their borders. If you’re coming in, in addition to each different tennis participant, when you wished to return into the nation, you needed to be double vaccinated. It was as much as him, his decisions, his judgment.”

Support has come from essentially the most unlikely of sources, within the kind of Australian Nick Kyrgios, hardly his largest fan. Kyrgios, who mentioned he was vaccinated “for others and my mom’s well being”, is extremely essential of how Australia has handled Djokovic.

“It’s only a shit-show,” he instructed the No Boundaries Podcast. “It’s not even in regards to the vaccination anymore. I really feel so sorry for him.

“How we’re coping with stuff is simply so embarrassing. I simply suppose if Australia had handled Covid higher, I don’t suppose this could be such an enormous challenge. It’s insane now.”

Kyrgios mentioned Djokovic had contacted him to thank him for his support. “Think about how he’s feeling,” the Australian mentioned. “He most likely desires slightly bit of support from different players. He’s getting it from me. I’m not the one he anticipated to exit within the media and have his again.

“He’s feeling alienated and as a human that may be a harmful place to be. On a human degree, he wants some support from different players.”

Many stay irritated, although. “I respect that he fights for what he believes and I might be empathetic with what he’s going by in Australia, however it’s a bit egocentric from him to reach right here as the one participant unvaccinated,” mentioned the Portuguese participant Joao Sousa. “It’s robust for us players to simply accept that.”

The Australian Sam Stosur, a former US Open champion who will probably be taking part in her remaining singles match on the Australian Open, mentioned nobody has come out of this case trying good.

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“It’s all been slightly bit messy, that’s most likely an understatement,” she mentioned. “It’s a extremely unlucky scenario that it’s come to at this time limit.

“Hopefully over the weekend a choice might be made lastly, whether or not you agree or don’t agree, he stays, he goes. Regardless of the case, it’s simply received to be determined and hopefully it’s not going to tarnish the remainder of the Australian Open.

“It’s an enormous story world wide. We wish the Aussie Open to be for good issues, not sadly what the Novak scenario has turn out to be.”

Rafael Nadal, who will probably be among the many favourites whether or not or not Djokovic performs, mentioned: “From my level of view, there’s a lot of questions that should be answered. In some methods I believe will probably be good if every part is clarified quickly. Everybody chooses his street. I want him all the perfect. I actually respect him, even when I don’t agree with quite a bit of issues that he did the final couple of weeks.”

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