‘It’s a Bit Selfish From Him’: Joao Sousa Takes a Dig at Novak Djokovic Amid His Visa Saga

Published 01/11/2022, 10:45 PM EST
Tennis – ATP Finals – Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy – November 19, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his group stage match against Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


The start of the new season of tennis has been unusual. Instead of the action happening on the court, much of the headlines have been off the court. No prizes for guessing, it is the Novak Djokovic’s visa cancelation saga that has been trending ever since World Number 1 has set its foot in Australia.

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This episode has divided the tennis fraternity with many tennis stars giving their opinions for and against it. Joao Sousa was the latest player to express his views on this chapter.

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Joao Sousa speaks on Novak Djokovic getting vaccine exemption

The World Number 140 is hoping to reach the main draw at the Australian Open. He was asked to comment on the topic of the moment after his opening victory in the qualifying round of the Australian Open. The highest ranked Portuguese in men’s singles category said, “I respect that he fights for what he believes and I can be empathetic with what he is going through in Australia, but it’s a bit selfish from him to arrive here as the only player unvaccinated. It’s tough for us players to accept that.”

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Further, he added that many players, not in his case, didn’t want to get vaccinated. However, they were forced to take the Covid-19 vaccine in order to play in tournaments around the globe. He felt that World Number 1 was finding a way around those rules.

The 32-year-old Portuguese enters the Australian Open qualifying rounds as the 17th seed after failing to get a direct entry into the main draw of the Australian Open. He defeated Manuel Guinard of France 6-3, 6-2 in the 1st round of Men’s Qualifying Singles for the Australian Open. He will next take on local boy Marc Polmans.

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World Number 1’s visa cancelation saga explained

The Serb received a medical exemption to participate in the next week’s Australian Open. However, upon his arrival Down Under, his visa was canceled by the border authorities and he was subsequently detained. Novak Djokovic, after consultation with his legal team, decided to challenge this in Australian Federal Courts.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Paris Masters – Accor Arena, Paris, France – November 7, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

At the hearing on January 10, 2022, judge Anthony Kelly ruled in favor of the Serb and ordered his release from detention. However, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Alex Hawke holds the power to personally intervene and cancel Djokovic’s visa. Thus, the Serbian’s shot at defending the Australian Open crown is not yet guaranteed.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Quirky and Controversial Moments at Australian Open 

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Vatsal Shah

78 articles

Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.

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