Novak Djokovic hits out at US Open officials on their decision to allow unvaccinated American players to compete, but not to grant the same privilege to foreign players.
Speaking to reporters at Wimbledon after sweeping second-round opponent Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets, Djokovic said it was a “shameful” decision by the US Open.
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Djokovic, arguably the most prominent unvaccinated player on the tour, already missed the Australian Open earlier this year after being sent off days before the tournament started.
The world No 1 had claimed he had obtained a legitimate vaccine exemption, but this was not accepted upon his arrival in Melbourne and he was detained by border officials.
A subsequent court appeal saw him released, only for then-immigration minister Alex Hawke to subsequently cancel his visa under discretionary powers.
Djokovic said missing the US Open, from which he was memorably disqualified in 2020 after hitting a linesman with a ball, would not be “the end of the world”.
He nevertheless harshly criticized the decision, which was clearly not fair.
“I texted Tennys Sandgren a few days ago. I wanted to thank him for his public support for me in this situation,” Djokovic said.
“What he said makes perfect sense – if unvaccinated players are not allowed to play in the US Open, then everyone else should be.
“I don’t see the medical logic behind it, that Tennys can play because he’s an American citizen, and I can’t.”
Djokovic said all unvaccinated players should be allowed to play, or none.
Novak Djokovic rolls over Thanasi Kokkinakis at Wimbledon
Kokkinakis had both the best and the worst view at home as Djokovic delivered an imperious performance to enter the third round with a tuition of 6-1 6-4 6-2 on Wednesday.
Making his first appearance at the All England Club in five years, Kokkinakis felt Djokovic was untouchable at times and said he would be surprised if anyone prevented the Serb from winning a fourth consecutive title and the seventh in his big career.
“If someone beats him when he plays like that, that means I’m even further than I thought. Hopefully not if he plays like that anyway,” Kokkinakis said.
“If it’s not his peak intensity, I’m going to be chopped up even more next time. He came back amazing, he did everything right.”
Hungry for a 21st Grand Slam singles crown to close in on one of Rafael Nadal’s great rivals in the men’s all-time major titles standings, Djokovic produced the full range of blows that at times took your breath away. to the crowd.
From exquisite drops to sublime volleys and even an incredible aerial backhand winner down the line, Djokovic was in full control.
“I have to say I was pretty happy with how I raised my level in two days. It was really, really high quality,” Djokovic said after needing exactly two hours to highlight his credentials as a tournament favorite.
Djokovic has dismissed a suggestion that he played with extra intensity out of revenge for being kicked out of Australia earlier in the year.
“I don’t hold any grudges against anyone who is really from Australia,” he said.
“I had no extra intensity or desire to win this game just because Thanasi is Australian.
“Actually, on the contrary, I have a really good relationship with Thanasi. I felt there was a lot of respect today.”
With the AAP
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