'Look like fools': Top rival lashes out over Novak Djokovic fiasco

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Stefanos Tsitipas is unhappy about Novak Djokovic's attempts to evade Australia's vaccine rules.
Novak Djokovic's attempts to skirt around Australia's vaccine requirments have drawn fierce criticism from Stefanos Tsitsipas. Pictures: Getty Images

World No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas says Novak Djokovic's ongoing attempts to circumvent vaccine requirements makes the rest of the tour 'look like fools'.

Few players have publicly spoken out about Djokovic's attempts to skirt around the strict requirement for visitors to Australia to be vaccinated against Covid-19, however Tsitsipas broke that trend when he accused the world No.1 of making the rest of the tour 'look like fools'.

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It is unknown whether Djokovic will be permitted to remain in the country to participate in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.

After winning an injunction against the cancellation of his visa and subsequent deportation from Australia on Monday, Djokovic is now awaiting whether or not the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will use his discretionary power to cancel the 34-year-old's visa anyway.

Initially hesitant to be vaccinated, Tsitsipas says he and many other players on tour got the jab once it essentially became a requirement to continue life as a professional tennis player.

The Greek superstar said Djokovic's attempts to get around the rules were a slap in the face to everyone else who had made the right decision.

“The stats say 98 per cent of players have been vaccinated and did what they had to do in order to come and perform and play in Australia,” Tsitsipas told India's WIO News.

“One side of it is, yeah we’ve all followed the protocols in order to compete in Australia, we’ve been very disciplined in that part.

“The other side, I’d say that it kind of seems like not everyone is playing by the rules of how Tennis Australia and the government have been putting things.

“A very small group chose to follow their own way and it kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools or something.”

According to the ATP, 97% of the tour's players have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Take-up of the vaccine had been quite slow among players until it was announced being vaccinated would be a requirement to participate in the Australian Open.

Stefanos Tsitsipas unimpressed with Novak Djokovic circus

Tsitsipas, who reportedly received the one shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, said it took 'daring' to do what Djokovic has done.

The Serbian star is facing intense scrutiny from the tennis world after admitting to participating in a photoshoot and interview for L'Equipe while knowingly positive for Covid.

Djokovic was 'putting the Grand Slam at risk', Tsitsipas said.

“For sure he has been playing by his own rules and has been doing something that not many players had the guts to go and do, especially after the ATP announced certain criteria for players to enter the country,” he said.

“No one would have really thought I could come to Australia unvaccinated and not having to follow the protocols that they gave me, which takes a lot of daring to do, and putting a Grand Slam at risk. I don’t think many players could do that.

Stefanos Tsitsipas has criticised Novak Djokovic for not being vaccinated.
Stefanos Tsitsipas says Novak Djokovic is putting the Australian Open 'at risk' with his fight over the vaccine mandate. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)

“I chose to go and be 100 per cent ready for whatever was to come and not having to think about anything else.

“For me, it worked one way, for Novak, it worked another way. That doesn’t really mean that my way is the right one and his way is the wrong one, it’s just each person’s perception about it.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison fronted the media in Canberra on Thursday afternoon, but he couldn't provide an update.

"These are personal ministerial powers able to be exercised by Minister Alex Hawke and I don't propose to make any further comment at this time," Mr Morrison said.

However the PM did provide a massive hint about what his desired outcome is, saying he expected immigration officials "to implement the policy of the government".

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