Some players who criticize tennis player Novak Djokovic are not happy with the process about Djokovic’s denied medical exemption for not getting the COVID vaccine in Australia.
Nick Kyrgios, an Australian player and critic of some of Djokovic’s stance, said: “Look, I certainly believe in taking action, I’ve been vaccinated for the cause of others and my mother’s health, but we’re going to take Novak’s position.” How are you handling it, it’s really bad, really bad.” vaccination, posted on twitter, “… it’s one of our great champions but at the end of the day, he’s human. Do better.”
Other players have also expressed sympathy for Djokovic’s situation, while others have said that if he had been vaccinated, there would have been no drama.
Djokovic, 34, the world’s top men’s tennis player, has been banned from leaving a detention hotel in Melbourne with a court hearing on Monday, a week before the start of the Australian Open.
Djokovic received a medical exemption for a COVID vaccine supported by the Tennis Federation of Australia and approved by the Victoria state government before flying to Australia. The reason for the exemption has not yet been provided. However, the Australian government said it was invalid when he arrived at Melbourne airport.
Australia’s COVID rules require travelers arriving in the country to have two shots of an approved vaccine or are exempt for a genuine medical reason, such as a serious condition, not to quarantine. In order to enter the tournament venue, all players, staff, officials and fans are required to be fully vaccinated.
Djokovic spent Friday Orthodox Christmas at an immigration detention hotel in Australia, as he sought to stop deportation over the country’s COVID-19 rules and compete at the Australian Open.
Djokovic received calls from his native Serbia, including his parents and the president, who hoped to boost his spirits over the holiday.
On Instagram he posted: “Thank you people all over the world for your continued support. I can feel it and it is greatly appreciated.”
During the day, Djokovic’s supporters, waving banners, gathered outside the Park Hotel, housing refugees and asylum seekers.
A priest at Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne asked to meet the nine-time Australian Open champion to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, but immigration officials turned it down as the hotel is under lockdown.
“Our Christmas is rich with many customs, and it is so important that a priest visits him,” the church’s dean Milorad Locard told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. In custody… it’s unimaginable.”
The Australian Border Force said on Friday that following further investigations into two others linked to the Australian Open, one left the country voluntarily and the other was taken into custody for deportation.
The Czech embassy identified one of them as 38-year-old doubles player Renata Vorasova and said she would not play in the tournament.
The controversy has become a touching topic in a city where residents spent 256 days in 2020-21 under severe restrictions on their movement. Djokovic’s waiver was stirred by allegations that the star athlete was treated particularly well.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tilly said earlier this week that 26 people associated with the tournament had applied for medical exemptions and that only a “handful” had been granted. Three of them have since been challenged.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.