Novak Djokovic lashes out over 'shameful' drama at Wimbledon

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Novak Djokovic says it is unfair for unvaccinated Americans to play the US Open, but not overseas players.
Novak Djokovic has slammed the US Open over the decision to allow unvaccinated locals to play, but not those from overseas. Picture: Wimbledon/YouTube

Novak Djokovic has lashed out at US Open officials over their decision to allow unvaccinated American players to compete, but not extend the same privilege to overseas players.

Speaking to reporters at Wimbledon after sweeping past second round opponent Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight sets, Djokovic said it was a 'shameful' move on behalf of the US Open.

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Djokovic, arguably the most high-profile unvaccinated player on the tour, already missed the Australian Open earlier this year after he was deported in the days before the tournament began.

The World No.1 had claimed to have obtained a legitimate vaccine exemption, however this was not accepted upon 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 then cancel his visa under discretionary powers.

Djokovic said missing the US Open, which he was memorably disqualified from in 2020 after hitting a lineswoman with a ball, would not be 'the end of the world'.

He was nevertheless harshly critical of the decision, which said was obviously not fair.

“I have been texting with Tennys Sandgren a few days ago. I wanted to thank him for the public support he has given me in this situation," Djokovic said.

"What he said makes total sense – if unvaccinated players are not allowed to compete at the US Open, then it should be the case for everyone.

"I don’t see the medical logic behind it, that Tennys can play because he is a citizen of the USA, and I cannot."

Djokovic said either all unvaccinated players should be permitted to play, or none at all.

Novak Djokovic rolls over Thanasi Kokkinakis in Wimbledon thumping

Kokkinakis had both the best and worst view in the house as Djokovic delivered an imperious performance to storm into the third round with a 6-1 6-4 6-2 schooling on Wednesday.

Making his first appearance at the All England Club in five years, Kokkinakis felt Djokovic was untouchable at times and said he'd be surprised if anyone stopped the Serb from claiming a fourth consecutive title and the seventh of his grand career.

"If someone beats him when he's playing like that, it means I'm even further off than I thought. Hope not if he plays like that anyway," Kokkinakis said.

"If that's not his top intensity, I'm going to get chopped even more next time. He returned unbelievable, just did everything well."

Novak Djokovic cruised past Thanasi Kokkinakis in their second round match-up at Wimbledon. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic cruised past Thanasi Kokkinakis in their second round match-up at Wimbledon. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP via Getty Images)

Hungry for a 21st grand slam singles crown to pull within one of great rival Rafael Nadal on the all-time men's major titles leaderboard, Djokovic produced the full array of shots that left the crowd breathless at times.

From exquisite drops, to sublime volleying and even one incredible airborne backhand down-the-line winner, Djokovic was in full control.

"I must say I was quite pleased the way I've raised my level in two days. "It was really, really high-quality," Djokovic said after needing exactly two hours to underline his credentials as the tournament's hot favourite.

Djokovic rejected one suggestion that he played with extra intensity out of some sort of revenge for being deported from Australia earlier in the year.

"I don't have any grudge over anybody really coming from Australia," he said.

"I did not have any extra intensity or desire to win this match just because Thanasi is Australian.

"Actually in contrary, I really have a good relationship with Thanasi. I felt there was a lot of respect today."

With AAP

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