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Australian Open: Novak Djokovic makes other players “look like idiots”, says Stefanos Tsitsipas

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Australian Open: Novak Djokovic is drawn to play in the first round.© AFP

World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas said on Thursday that Novak Djokovic had jeopardized the Australian Open and made other tennis players “like fools”. The Serbian world number one, top seed and defending champion is looking to clinch a 10th Australian Open title at Melbourne Park – starting next Monday – and an unprecedented 21st Grand Slam crown. But the vaccine-skeptic’s fate remains uncertain with Australia’s government revoking his visa and kicking him out of the country for breaching Covid protocol.

“Certainly he is playing by his own rules,” Tsitsipas said in an interview with Indian broadcaster WION.

“It takes a lot of courage to do that and (is) risk a Grand Slam… I don’t think many players will do that.”

Tsitsipas, who lost to Djokovic in the final of the French Open last year, said almost everyone at the Melbourne tournament was vaccinated.

Others, he said, “chosen to go their own way which makes the majority think they are all idiots.”

Djokovic had flown to Melbourne airport on January 5 after a positive PCR test result was claimed on December 16.

Border agents who rejected his exemption, saying a recent infection was an insufficient justification, tore his visa and placed him in a detention centre.

But Djokovic’s high-powered legal team overturned Visa’s decision in court on Monday in a procedural case involving his airport interview.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday that no decision had yet been taken on whether to revoke Djokovic’s visa for a second time.

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Djokovic was still in the Australian Open first round draw on the same day.

Even if he is allowed to stay, questions are being raised over his preparedness and fitness for the grueling two-week tournament, as he was forced to spend four nights in a detention facility.

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