Novak Djokovic accused of being ‘tone-deaf’ with Australians outraged after ‘being taken for fools’

Novak Djokovic in action

The decision by Tennis Australia to hand Novak Djokovic a medical exemption to compete at the 2022 Australian Open has not gone down well with many people.

The defending champion finally ended months of speculation on Tuesday when he revealed he is on his way to Melbourne after being cleared to play following a “rigorous review process” by two separate independent medical panels.

Australians, though, have been left unimpressed by the announcement as many believe it is a slap in the face of those who went through strict lockdown regulations for the past two years and those who have had to get vaccinated in order to end bubble life.

Comment – Novak Djokovic walking into a storm after controversial Australian Open exemption

Former Australian tennis player-turned-commentator Sam Groth was one of those who did not mince his words.

“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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Australian rules football great Kevin Bartlett believes the public “have been taken for fools”.

“Novak Djokovic is the greatest tennis player ever. Forget Laver, Agassi, Federer, Sampras, Nadal, McEnroe, Connors and Borg for Novak has won 20 Grand Slams and 87 titles and a billion dollars without us knowing he had a debilitating medical problem. We have been taken for fools,” he wrote.

Alex De Minaur, who is representing Australia at the ATP Cup, was a little more diplomatic.

“I just think it’s just very interesting, that’s all I’m going to say,” he said. “But, hey, it is what it is, I just hope that the other players … I heard there were other cases as well … they got exemptions, so I hope they will all fit the criteria.”

The locals were also far from impressed.

“I think it’s a disgrace,” Melbourne resident Christine Wharton said on ABC.

“We’ve all done the right thing, we’ve all gone out and got our jabs and our boosters and we have someone that has come from overseas and all of a sudden he’s been exempt and can play and I think it’s an absolute disgrace and I won’t be watching it.”