‘He Is Not an Example for Young People’- ATP Rome Tournament Director Blasts Novak Djokovic for Recent Actions

Published 01/18/2022, 2:30 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 15, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during his semi final match against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

The Novak Djokovic visa saga has finally come to an end. With the decision coming out a day before the commencement of the Australian Open, the Serb was dealt a major blow. He hasn’t been allowed to participate at the Grand Slam and has been deported from Australia.

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While Novak Djokovic was fighting his case in the Federal Court of Australia, his family constantly backed him. His fans took to the streets to express their opinions. Further, celebrities across the globe were divided in their opinions. Recently, Sergio Palmieri had some strong opinions on this saga. He is the director of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, which is a ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, Italy.

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Sergio Palmieri talks about the Novak Djokovic case

Palmieri did not mince his words while talking about Novak and even mentioned his rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

While speaking to Italian radio ‘Radio Anch’io Sport’, Palmieri said, “he (Djokovic) is a controversial character, he takes a stand and he puts himself out there. Certainly, he is not an example for young people approaching this sport; from this point of view, he has not reached Roger and Rafa’s stature.”

Novak Djokovic after losing the second set in the quarters of Italian Open 2020. via REUTERS/Riccardo Antimiani

On his relationship with World Number 1, Palmieri said, “I have a long-standing relationship with Novak and he is a different person from the one he appears to be from the outside. He has a very strong personality and he will overcome this challenge.”

Asked whether last year’s finalist can play in Rome this year, the Italian said, “it’s up to him. If he were to sign up and be compliant with all the rules, we will have no problems to accept him and no reason not to do so.”

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What next for the Serb?

With his exit from the Australian Open even before the first round began, the 20-time Grand Slam champion is set to lose 2000 points which he had won last year by lifting the title Down Under. Moreover, he could potentially lose out on the top spot to Daniil Medvedev by next week. This can happen if the Russian manages at least a semi-final finish at the opening Grand Slam of the season.

Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 21, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev after their final match REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Can Novak Djokovic make a strong return after the Australian Open snub? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Novak Djokovic’s Biggest Controversies

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Vatsal Shah

619 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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