Djokovic is making vaccinated players 'look like fools', says Tsitsipas

By Sports Desk January 13, 2022

Novak Djokovic put the Australian Open at risk and has made other participants "look like fools" by turning up for the tournament unvaccinated, according to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

World number one Djokovic was paired with Miomir Kecmanovic in Thursday's draw for the opening round, but it remains uncertain whether he will even take part in the first grand slam of the year.

The Serbian was last week given a medical exemption to enter Australia, despite not being vaccinated, only for border officials to block it upon his arrival.

Djokovic was detained for four days while waiting to appeal the case on Monday, which went in his favour at Melbourne Circuit Court.

He has since started training ahead of the Australian Open, which begins next Monday, though immigration minister Alex Hawke may yet cancel his visa for a second time.

The 34-year-old is also being investigated for breaching isolation rules in December after testing positive for COVID-19.

And as a decision regarding whether he can stay in Australia and defend his title is dragged out, Tsitsipas has become the highest-profile tennis figure to criticise Djokovic for his conduct.

"He has been playing by his own rules," world number four Tsitsipas told Indian outlet WION.

"No one would have thought: 'I can come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols they gave me'.

"For Novak it worked another way. It takes a lot of daring to do. Putting a Grand Slam at risk – I don't think many players would do that."

Tsitsipas, who was defeated by Djokovic in last year's French Open final, added: "There are two ways to look at it.

"One way is that almost every single player has been vaccinated and did what they had to do in order to come and play in Australia.

"We have all followed the protocols to come and compete in Australia and been very disciplined in that.

"It seems like not everyone is playing by the rules of how Tennis Australia and some governments have been putting things.

"A very small minority chose to follow their own way. It makes the majority look like they are all fools."

Djokovic has spent the past four days training on court in preparation for the Australian Open, which he has won a record nine times, including in each of the last three years.

But weighing in on the debate on Thursday, Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the 20-time grand slam winner must "abide by the rules" if he is to remain in the country.

"You have to be frank – the vast majority of Australians said they didn't like the idea that another individual, whether they're a tennis player or the king of Spain or the queen of England, can come up here and have a different set of rules to what everybody else has to deal with," Joyce said.

"Let's see where it goes from here… I've made my views clear. I might not agree with the fact that I have to be tested to go from New South Wales into Queensland but I do [it’. Why? Because that is the law.

"He is no better. He is still a child of God like the rest of us, isn't he? So he has got to abide by the laws."

Related items

  • Murray knocked out of Geneva Open as Hanfmann books Djokovic clash Murray knocked out of Geneva Open as Hanfmann books Djokovic clash

    Andy Murray was denied a meeting with Novak Djokovic at the Geneva Open as Yannick Hanfmann completed a 7-5 6-2 win over the Scot on Tuesday.

    Murray's first-round clash with Hanfmann was suspended due to rain on Monday, with the three-time grand slam champion 7-5 4-1 down.

    He had earlier fumed at umpire Greg Allensworth as pollen rained down on the court in Switzerland, questioning why play had not been stopped.

    The rain may have frustrated Hanfmann's victory pursuit on Monday, but it only provided a temporary reprieve for Murray as the players returned to complete the match the next day.

    Hanfmann held his nerve through his final two service games to book a meeting with Djokovic for Wednesday.  

    In Tuesday's other early match, four-time grand slam quarter-finalist David Goffin was beaten in straight sets by Nicolas Moreno De Alboran.

    The likes of Denis Shapovalov and Tallon Griekspoor are also in action in Switzerland on Tuesday, with Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud joining Djokovic in entering for the second round on Wednesday.

  • Murray fumes at umpire amid severe weather at Geneva Open Murray fumes at umpire amid severe weather at Geneva Open

    Andy Murray fumed at the umpire as inclement weather forced his Geneva Open tie with Yannick Hanfmann to be suspended.

    Murray's meeting with Hanfmann was postponed with the Scot a set and a double break down, with his German opponent in control at 7-5 4-1.

    Former world number one Murray was furious with umpire Greg Allensworth as the weather closed in.

    "I know you guys don't play but it'd be good to have a bit of a feel for what's happening," said Murray during a break in play.

    "You're fine for us to play when there's s*** flying around?

    "It's like it's snowing out here and you still want us to keep going."

    Allensworth eventually sent the players into the dressing rooms.

    Murray is aiming to use the Geneva Open to prepare for what is set to be his first French Open appearance since 2020.

    A tie with Novak Djokovic is on the cards if Murray can turn things around on Tuesday, though it looks incredibly unlikely.

  • Zverev sees off Jarry to claim second Italian Open crown Zverev sees off Jarry to claim second Italian Open crown

    Alexander Zverev claimed his second Italian Open title following a 6-4 7-5 victory over Nicolas Jarry in the final.

    The German, who also triumphed in Rome seven years ago, captured his first silverware of the season - and sixth of his career in an ATP Masters event.

    Having dropped just a single set on the way to his 11th Masters final, Zverev continued his impressive form by winning 95 per cent of his first-serve points (37 out of 39) and committing just eight unforced errors.

    Jarry had enjoyed an impressive fortnight in Rome, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Tommy Paul on the way to becoming the first Masters finalist from Chile since Fernando Gonzalez (also at the Italian Open) in 2007.

    However, just two break points were enough to deny the 21st seed a fourth career ATP title, with Zverev eventually converting his fourth championship point to ensure a return to the winner's circle.

    Data debrief

    Zverev joins Rafael Nadal (10) and Novak Djokovic (six) as one of only three players since 2000 to win the Italian Open on multiple occasions.

    Landing his second crown in Rome seven years after his first, it marks the longest gap in seasons between two men's singles titles at the event in the Open Era.

    Meanwhile, Zverev became the most successful German male in ATP Masters events since the format's introduction in 1990, with his sixth such success seeing him eclipse Boris Becker's total of five.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.