Novak Djokovic ‘made situation worse’ says Jo Durie
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Novak Djokovic’s participation at the Australian Open is dividing opinion as he enters Melbourne with a Covid-19 medical exemption letter, much to the anger of many. And former Australian tennis legend Sam Groth has slammed the Serb for his actions, claiming he ‘fails every time’ at doing what is expected of him.
Djokovic entered last year’s Australian Open when it was behind-closed-doors and won, making it three consecutive titles Down Under for the world number one.
Yet with COVID-19 still rife, Djokovic was encouraged to get himself vaccinated ahead of the current tournament which will host fans after a two-year hiatus.
His refusal to clarify whether he has done so put a fourth-straight title in doubt.
Yet despite his eventual acceptance to play, Groth believes the way Djokovic goes about his business is completely wrong.
“I still think Djokovic is one of the greatest ever but with greatness comes expectation and he fails every time,” Groth wrote in a column for News Corp.
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“He is failing his peers and laughing in the face of Victorians.
“He was here last year, lifting the trophy and paying tribute to what Victorians in particular had endured. He played in empty stadiums during the snap lockdown.
“His announcement on Tuesday was tone-deaf. He should know better.”
Djokovic took to social media to announce that his medical exemption request had been accepted.
The photograph used shows him smiling, ready to travel to Australia in order to win his record 21st Grand Slam.
“Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet,” the Serbian’s post read.
“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!”
With fan and pundit reaction already in the public spotlight, it remained to be seen how players would take the news.
And Polish star Hubert Hurkacz, who ranks at the current world number nine, has made his feelings known – to get on with proceedings.
“The players, we already spoke in the locker room. That is what I said,” Hurkacz said.
“Maybe the press is going to be in the locker room for sure in the next few weeks, but I think we don’t have to say nothing.
“I mean, we are here to play and Novak already talked to the tournament, the government, everyone is talking about, so players, we have to be on the side, I think.”
The Australian Open will start on Monday January 17, where Djokovic will aim to win his tenth overall title.
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