Australian Open: Stefanos Tsitsipas SLAMS Novak Djokovic for ‘playing by his own rules’


Stefanos Tsitsipas blasts Novak Djokovic for ‘playing by his own rules’ and putting the whole Australian Open ‘at risk’ by not having a Covid jab, as world No 1 sweats on his place with government officials deciding whether to deport him

  • Djokovic is still waiting to discover whether he will be deported from Australia
  • Unvaccinated world No 1 admitted including wrong information on visa forms
  • Nine-time champion was given a first round tie for the Melbourne Slam
  • But Australian government officials will decide if he gets to compete next week
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas has become the latest to come out and criticise Djokovic 


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Stefanos Tsitsipas has slammed Novak Djokovic for ‘playing by his own rules’ and putting the whole Australian Open ‘at risk’.

It came as the Serbian world No 1 sweated on his place in the Melbourne Slam as Australia’s Immigration Minister decided whether to revoke his visa for a second time and throw him out the country.

Though Djokovic was paired with compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round in Thursday’s draw, he could yet be deported after admitting incorrect information was included on his paperwork to enter Australia.

Stefanos Tsitsipas pictured during a practice session in Melbourne this week

Stefanos Tsitsipas pictured during a practice session in Melbourne this week

Novak Djokovic, pictured in practice on Thursday, is awaiting his fate

Novak Djokovic, pictured in practice on Thursday, is awaiting his fate

Stefanos Tsitsipas (left) has criticised Novak Djokovic (right) for putting the Australian Open ‘at risk’ by not getting the Covid vaccine as the Serbian waits to see if he can stay in the country

Tsitsipas, who was beaten by Djokovic in the French Open final last year (pictured), said the Serbian world No 1 was 'playing by his own rules'

Tsitsipas, who was beaten by Djokovic in the French Open final last year (pictured), said the Serbian world No 1 was 'playing by his own rules'

Tsitsipas, who was beaten by Djokovic in the French Open final last year (pictured), said the Serbian world No 1 was ‘playing by his own rules’

The 20-time Slam champion, who has not been vaccinated, faces questions now only in Australia but also Spain and his homeland of Serbia after breaking Covid rules last month.

And Djokovic has now come under fire from one of his challengers for the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, as Greek world No 4 Tsitsipas joined a chorus of criticism.

‘He has been playing by his own rules,’ he told the Indian outlet WION.

‘No-one would have thought: ‘I can come to Australia unvaccinated and not have to follow the protocols they gave me.’

‘For Novak, it worked another way. It takes a lot of daring to do.

‘Putting a Grand Slam at risk – I don’t think many players would do that.’

Djokovic pictured at a booth of the Border Force at the airport in Melbourne on January 5

Djokovic pictured at a booth of the Border Force at the airport in Melbourne on January 5

Djokovic pictured at a booth of the Border Force at the airport in Melbourne on January 5

A photo uploaded to Twitter shows Djokovic with handball player Petar Djordjic in Belgrade

A photo uploaded to Twitter shows Djokovic with handball player Petar Djordjic in Belgrade

JANUARY 4, SPAIN: Novak Djokovic in Marbella playing soccer on the tennis court with his brother Marko and the coach before going to Australia

JANUARY 4, SPAIN: Novak Djokovic in Marbella playing soccer on the tennis court with his brother Marko and the coach before going to Australia

LEFT: A photo uploaded to Twitter shows Djokovic with handball player Petar Djordjic in Belgrade. RIGHT: Novak Djokovic is pictured playing on court in Marbella on January 4

Tsitsipas, who was denied his first Slam win by Djokovic in last year’s French Open final, added: ‘There are two ways to look at it – one way is that almost every single player has been vaccinated and did what they had to do in order to come and play in Australia.

‘We have all followed the protocols to come and compete in Australia and been very disciplined in that.

‘It seems like not everyone is playing by the rules of how Tennis Australia and some governments have been putting things.

‘A very small minority chose to follow their own way. It makes the majority look like they are all fools.’

The Greek has been drawn against Sweden’s Mikael Ymer in the first round. 

Djokovic, a vocal vaccine sceptic, was granted a medical exemption to come to Australia and compete in a tournament he has won nine times.

A judge overturned the original revoking of his visa for entry on Monday but Immigration Minister Alex Hawke is still considering whether to deport him.

Djokovic admitted on Wednesday to attending events in Belgrade while infected with the virus and the Daily Mail also revealed he may have broken Spain’s emergency travel regulations when visiting Marbella last month.

He took to Instagram to confess he attended an interview with a French sports newspaper after testing positive for Covid.

The Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will help make the decision over Djokovic

The Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will help make the decision over Djokovic

The Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke will help make the decision over Djokovic

He said: ‘I felt obliged to go ahead and conduct the L’Equipe interview as I didn’t want to let the journalist down.’

He added that attending the engagement was an ‘error of judgment’ and he should have rescheduled.

But the star is also under fire for posing maskless when he presented awards to some of Serbia’s top young tennis talent on December 17.

And Djokovic faces further scrutiny after it emerged his trip to Spain may have fallen foul of the country’s entry requirements.

The draw on Thursday afternoon was delayed at very short notice while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a press conference on Covid-19 matters.

But Morrison said no decision had yet been made on Djokovic’s fate and so his name was included in the draw, which started 75 minutes later than planned. A decision on Djokovic is now not expected on Thursday.

Australian Open officials nervously awaited any new announcements from Morrison as Hawke decides whether to use his ministerial powers to deport Djokovic despite the 34-year-old’s court victory earlier this week. 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that no decision had yet been made

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that no decision had yet been made

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that no decision had yet been made

Key moments in Novak Djokovic’s Aussie Open bid 

 By Karen Sweeney in Melbourne for Australian Associated Press

Tennis world No.1 Novak Djokovic is still focused on defending his Australian Open title and winning a record-breaking 21st men’s grand slam tournament but the road to Melbourne has been bumpy and the path is not yet clear.

October/November – Djokovic applies for a temporary visa to enter Australia and compete in the 2022 Australian Open.

November 18 – Granted a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa.

December 14 – Attends a basketball match in Belgrade, Serbia, where attendees contract COVID-19.

December 16 – Djokovic is ‘tested and diagnosed’ with COVID-19. Documents show he was tested at 1.05pm and the result was returned at 8.19pm.

December 17 – Attends events in Belgrade, including a trophy presentation for junior tennis players. Pictured not wearing a mask and posing side-by-side indoors with a large group of children.

December 18 – Djokovic says he learned of the positive test and cancelled several scheduled events. Goes ahead with an interview and photoshoot with French newspaper L’Equipe, saying he felt ‘obliged’ because ‘I didn’t want to let the journalist down’.

December 22 – Returns a negative PCR test.

December 25 – Filmed by a fan playing tennis on a street in Belgrade. He is also photographed alongside Serbian handball player Petar Djordjic.

December 30 – Tennis Australia notify Djokovic he has been granted a temporary medical exemption, allowing him to play in the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. The exemption was granted on the basis of a previous infection, based on the opinion of one panel of medical experts and reviewed by another.

December 31 – Filmed training at a tennis academy in Sotogrande, Spain. The academy post photos on its Instagram of him posing for pictures with fans a day later.

January 1 – Authorises his agent to complete his Australian Travel Declaration. The document says Djokovic had not travelled in the 14 days prior to his intended arrival in Australia. Later admits the form contained an error in not acknowledging his travel between Serbia and Spain. Djokovic said his agent was notified by the Department of Home Affairs that the declaration had been assessed and he met the requirements for a quarantine-free arrival.

January 2 – Granted a border travel permit by the Victorian government.

January 4 – Announces on Instagram he is ‘heading Down Under with an exemption’. The post was made shortly before he departed for Melbourne, via Dubai. News of his impending arrival sparks controversy in Australia.

January 5 – Arrives in Melbourne at 11.30pm.

January 6 – Australian Border Force officials detain Djokovic. After a series of early morning interviews his visa is cancelled at 7.29am. His lawyers are granted a temporary injunction by the Federal Circuit Court. Djokovic is taken to the Park Hotel, which is being used as an immigration detention centre.

January 7 – Spends Orthodox Christmas in his hotel room.

January 10 – After a lengthy hearing, a judge quashes the government’s decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa after lawyers concede the decision was unreasonable in the circumstances. Judge Anthony Kelly rules Djokovic be paid his costs and freed from immigration detention. Government lawyers note Immigration Minister Alex Hawke still has a personal power to revoke Djokovic’s visa.

January 11 – Djokovic posts a photo of himself training at Rod Laver Arena. ‘Despite all that has happened in the past week, I want to stay and to try to compete at the Australian Open,’ he says. Questions are raised over his Australian Travel Declaration after documents released by the court revealed he answered ‘no’ to the question about travel in the 14 days before his arrival.

January 12 – Posts a statement on Instagram to correct ‘continuing misinformation’. He admits knowingly going through with the L’Equipe interview while positive for COVID-19. He also apologises for the ‘administrative mistake’ on the travel declaration. Mr Hawke’s office say the minister is still considering whether to exercise his power to revoke Djokovic’s visa.

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