Following an hour delay, the 2022 Australian Open draw was announced Thursday, and Novak Djokovic is the top seed on the men’s side of the bracket.
Even with the draw announced, Djokovic’s attempt at a tenth Australian Open title is still in doubt, after lawyers for the federal government said they may cancel his visa a second time on Monday.
According to The Age, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still considering whether to cancel the visa of the 20-time Grand Slam winner a second time. A decision is expected on Friday.
The Djokovic saga has become world wide news after the nine-time Australian Open champion arrived in Australia with a medical exemption from the Victorian government from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, only to have the Australian government cancel his visa and threaten to deport him from the country.
Djokovic’s lawyers appealed the decision, and he was released from an Australian immigration detention facility on Monday after Australian Judge Anthony Kelly reinstated his visa following an appeal by Djokovic’s lawyers. Kelly ruled that the federal government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa following his arrival in Australia was “unreasonable.”
However it plays out, one tennis star seems at least impressed with Djokovic’s “guts” in showing up to Australia unvaccinated.
“For sure, he’s been playing by his own rules and has been doing what not many players had the guts to do, especially after the ATP announced certain criteria for players to enter the country,” Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas told India’s WION news channel.
“No one would have 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.”
Tsitsipas was pressed on whether Djokovic should be allowed to play in the 2022 Australian Open, to which he said Djokovic refusing to be vaccinated makes the rest of the field “look like fools.”
“There are two ways to look at it….One way is that almost every single player almost… have been vaccinated… have followed the protocols to compete in Australia,” Tsitsipas said.
“In the other sense, it seems like not everyone is playing by the rules… a very small [minority] chose to follow their own way, which kind of makes the majority look like fools,” he added.
Punchy from Stefanos Tsitsipas who says Novak Djokovic has been "playing by his own rules".
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) January 13, 2022
Rival Rafael Nadal, who called the unvaccinated “a bit selfish” in November, supported the decision by the Australian courts to reinstate Djokovic’s visa.
“Regardless of whether or not I agree on some things with Djokovic, without any doubt, justice has spoken,” Nadal said. “They have said he has the right to play in the Australian Open and I really believe that is the fairest thing if the issue has been resolved, which seems to be the case.”
The tournament begins January 16 and runs through January 30.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.