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Djokovic playing by his own rules, says Tsitsipas

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Djokovic playing by his own rules, says Tsitsipas

World number one Novak Djokovic has been “playing by his own rules,” world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas said Thursday.

Tsitsipas said in an interview that the Serb has jeopardized his bid for his 21st Grand Slam title by failing to follow Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

The 34-year-old Djokovic was included in the Australian Open draw on Thursday, although uncertainty hangs over his participation.

The Australian government has yet to decide whether to cancel her visa a second time due to concerns about her medical exemption from Australia’s vaccination mandate.

Djokovic, a vaccine skeptic, sparked widespread anger in Australia when he announced that he was heading to Melbourne with a medical exemption from the requirements for visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Australian Border Force said his exemption was invalid and he was held at an immigration detention hotel.

But later a court allowed him to stick with the argument that the officials had been “unreasonable” in their interview in a seven-hour process in the middle of the night.

“Of course, he has 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,” said Tsitsipas of Greece.

“Nobody really thought that they could come to Australia without getting vaccinated and without having to follow the protocols … it takes a lot of daring to do it and put the Grand Slam at risk, which I don’t think many players would do.”

The ATP, which governs men’s tennis, has said that 97 of the top 100 male players are vaccinated.

The world’s 93rd American, Tennys Sandgren, told reporters earlier this month that he had pulled out of the Australian Open due to the vaccine’s mandate.

He added that he chose not to apply for a medical exemption.

When asked if Djokovic should defend his title at Melbourne Park next week as he continues his visa saga, Tsitsipas said: “There are two ways to look at it.

“On the one hand, almost all the players are fully vaccinated… and have followed the protocols to play in Australia.

“On the other hand, it seems that not everyone follows the rules,” he said, adding that a very small minority had chosen “to go their own way, which makes the majority look foolish.”

Reuters / NAN

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