Djokovic ‘playing by his own rules’, says Tsitsipas

Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Carlos Alcaraz of Spain reacts after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece (not pictured) on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 13 (Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic has been “playing by his own rules” and has put his bid for a 21st Grand Slam title at risk by not following Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements, world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas said on Thursday.

Djokovic was included in the Australian Open draw on Thursday, though uncertainty hangs over his participation with the government yet to decide whether to cancel his visa for a second time over concerns about his medical exemption from Australia’s vaccine mandate.

The Australian Border Force said his exemption was invalid and he was held at an immigration detention hotel, but a court later allowed him to stay on grounds that officials had been “unreasonable” at his interview in a seven-hour process in the middle of the night.

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

Asked if Djokovic should defend his title at Melbourne Park next week as his visa saga continues, Tsitsipas said: “There are two ways to look at it. One side of it is that almost every single player is fully vaccinated… and have followed the protocols to play in Australia.

“On the other hand, it seems not everyone is playing by the rules,” he said, adding that a very small minority had chosen to “follow their own way, which kind of makes the majority look like fools”.

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