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Novak Djokovic’s rivals react to the latest twists in his battle to enter the Australian Open with a mixture of sympathy and a desire for a definitive solution to return the focus to the Grand Slam tournament.
Earlier this week, Djokovic said he was “happy and grateful” that a judge overturned his visa cancellation week. But on Friday, the Australian immigration minister withdrew the visa again. Djokovic is slated to be held again on Saturday, pending the results of a hearing on Sunday.
Even players who previously said Djokovic should have just followed the rules – and either got vaccinated or skipped the tournament – are now saying they don’t like how the dispute is progressing. They cite Djokovic’s forced stay in a quarantine hotel and the confusion and distraction of the Australian Open, which opens the Grand Slam season.
Here’s a recap of what some of the top players said this week:
Rafael Nadal, who, like Djokovic, currently has 20 Grand Slam victories, said on Monday: “Regardless of whether I agree with Djokovic on some things, without a doubt, justice has spoken.”
The Spanish star was quoted as speaking to Spanish radio after a judge acquitted Djokovic to remain in Melbourne before his visa was revoked again.
“They’ve said he has the right to play in the Australian Open and I really believe that’s the fairest thing to do if the issue is resolved, which appears to be the case,” said Nadal.
Like many tennis pros, Nadal had previously said the requirements for athletes wanting to play in Australia were clear.
“He made his own decisions and everyone is free to make their own decisions, but then there are some consequences,” Nadal said last week.
“Of course I don’t like the situation. Somehow I feel sorry for him. But at the same time, he knew the circumstances months ago, so he makes his own decision.”
nadal said: he understood the anger many feel in Australia, citing the many sacrifices the pandemic has demanded.
“I believe in what the people who know about medicine say, and if the people say we need to be vaccinated, we should get the vaccine.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece said Djokovic wants to follow his own rules.
“He has certainly played by his own rules and done something that not many players had the guts to do, especially after the ATP announced certain criteria for players to enter the country,” Greece’s Tsitsipas told India. WION news channel.
“No one would have really thought, ‘I can just come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols they’ve given me,’ which – it takes a lot of guts to do, and [it’s] jeopardize the Grand Slam, which, again, I don’t think many players would.”
Tsitsipas, who has expressed his own doubts about coronavirus vaccines, said he chose to get vaccinated and focus on playing tennis.
“There are two ways of looking at it. One way is … the statistics say that 98% of the players have been vaccinated and have done what they had to do to come out and play in Australia,” he said in the WION statement. interview.
“On the other hand, it seems like not everyone is following the rules,” Tsitsipas said. He added, “a very small minority of that percentage chose to go their own way, making the majority look like they’re all fools or something.”
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Nick Kyrgios – the Australian who tested positive for COVID-19 this month but hopes to compete in the Open – said early on during the drama surrounding Djokovic’s visit to Australia that he believes everyone should follow the same rules and get vaccinated as they want to enter the country.
But while Djokovic was locked up in a hotel for days awaiting news about his visa, Kyrgios also said he was sympathetic to the Serb’s plight.
“I have a feeling whether it’s right or wrong… he’s a human being after all,” Kyrgios said. “I feel a little sorry for him, that’s where I am at the moment. I don’t think this is the right way to go about it.”
People who come to Australia despite an issue with their visas should be given the opportunity to get the issue resolved, Kyrgios said.
“Because it’s Novak, I feel like in a way we’re almost going a step further to punish him.”
Kyrgios has said he has been vaccinated to protect others, including his mother. But he criticized the way Djokovic is treated and how his story is told in the media.
“I feel quite embarrassed as an Australian athlete who has seen what this man has done for us and the sport,” Kyrgios said in a video clip on Instagram this week.
Andy Murray said, “I think it scares everyone to be honest.”
“I’m just going to say two things about it. The first is that I hope Novak is okay,” the British player was quoted as telling reporters. “I know him well and I’ve always had a good relationship with him.
“The second thing I want to say about it is that it’s not good for tennis at all, and I don’t think it’s good for everyone involved. I think it’s really bad.”
“Things have come out that really don’t look right. I want to hear all the facts before I can give all my thoughts on it.”
End of December, Murray announced he had been boosted and joked that he got his “third microchip in me” today.
“Just kidding aside…science is the best,” he added.