Australian Open players are tired of the Djokovic spectacle.
The top players of tennis’s Australian Open said on Saturday they were sick of this Novak Djokovic saga overshadowing the tournament’s inaugural Grand Slam and wanted the spotlight to be returned to tennis.
The run-up to the event has been dominated by the world’s number one Djokovic’s fight to be a part of Melbourne Park in the face of a government seeking to deport him following the cancellation of the visa on two occasions.
Djokovic, a vaccine-skeptic, has sparked massive anger in Australia after he announced that he would be heading to Melbourne.
The medical exemption required that visitors be inoculated against COVID-19.
“I won’t lie. It’s been all over the news media in these past couple of days,” Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas told reporters at Melbourne Park, two days before the start of the tournament on Monday.
“Not much tennis was discussed over the past couple of weeks, and it’s a shame.”
Djokovic’s attempt for a second time to secure the record-breaking 21st Grand Slam championship without being vaccinated has riled the Australian public due to a raging epidemic of Omicron variant.
Still, it has also made him a hero for those who oppose vaccination.
After his visa was revoked twice on Friday and Saturday, the Serb will be fighting to get the decision overturned in an appeals trial on Sunday.
“This entire situation has given a lot of focus off of our competition,” Australian number one Alex de Minaur, the 32nd seed, said to reporters.
“It seems as if it’s stealing from our competitors who are eager to begin. We’re all eager to get out and play.
“To be truthful, I’m ready to put this to rest and focus on my tennis games. Let my tennis speak for me.”
De Minaur declined to criticize Djokovic. However, he said that his decision not to be vaccinations contradicts the norms of what Australians were expected to do.
Australia has seen some of the longest lockdowns and boasts an average vaccination rate of 90% for adults.
“Look, Australians have gone through many things (during an epidemic). There’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“They’ve been through a lot. They’ve put in an awful amount of work to safeguard themselves and their border.
“When you’re entering like all tennis players, if you were to travel to the United States, you were required to be double-vaccinated. It was the player’s decision, the individual, his choices, and his judgment.”
Australian Open women’s champion Naomi Osaka stated that Naomi Osaka said that the Djokovic situation was up to the government, not the players.
But she did offer some empathy for the afflicted Serb after she felt a sense of discontent being the focus of attention after she pulled out in the French Open following a row with the organizers regarding the obligatory media commitments.
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