‘Let Him Play’: Tennis Great Martina Navratilova Sides With Novak Djokovic Despite Disagreeing With Him

Published 01/10/2022, 9:14 PM EST
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Paris Masters – Accor Arena, Paris, France – November 5, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during an interview after winning his quarter final match against Taylor Fritz of the U.S. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Novak Djokovic has won his legal battle against the government of Australia. After securing a medical exemption in order to play in the Australian Open, the Serbian finally landed in Melbourne last week.


Article continues below this ad

However, border forces detained him immediately and canceled his visa as well. Djokovic’s legal team then appealed against the same, and on Monday, Federal Judge Anthony Kelly ruled in the Serbian’s favor.

Here is what 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova has to say about the matter.


Article continues below this ad

Martina Navratilova wants Novak Djokovic to play

65-year-old former champion and decorated player Martina Navratilova has stated her opinion on the matter. According to her, the judge should not have overturned Novak Djokovic’s visa cancellation.

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

Martina Navratilova cited an opinion on why it was wrong to overturn the current World No. 1’s visa cancellation on Twitter. In fact, she echoed the sentiments about how Novak Djokovic staying in Australia posed a safety threat in terms of the coronavirus.

Furthermore, Navratilova stated her disagreement with Novak Djokovic on the matter in general. “I disagree with not getting vaccinated,” she wrote.


Nevertheless, the former champion does agree that “at the end of the day, it seems Novak did play by the rules.” Stating that Djokovic stuck to the rules which allowed “for the exemption,” Navratilova claimed that the 20-time Grand Slam champion “was burned”.

Thus, she asked Tennis Australia to “let him play.” Clearly, Navratilova doesn’t agree with Novak Djokovic’s personal stance. However, she still wishes to see him play, as the rules did allow an exemption.


Novak Djokovic Might Suffer Another Setback After Winning Court Battle in Australia

11 days ago

Consequently, Djokovic applied for the same and managed to secure said exemption, and should now be able to play the Australian Open, where he is the defending champion.

Djokovic wants to stay and play

With the entire mess in Melbourne around him, Novak Djokovic had refrained from speaking too publically about the matter. However, after judge Anthony Kelly ruled in his favor yesterday, the Serbian took to Twitter to express his thoughts.

Tennis – ATP Finals – Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy – November 19, 2021. Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his group stage match against Britain’s Cameron Norrie. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Djokovic expressed his pleasure and gratitude for the judge’s ruling. Then, he expressed that “despite all that has happened”, he wishes to stay and compete in the Australian Open.

He then began to thank his fans for their support during this time, stating that he remains focused on the Grand Slam because it is “on of the most important events we have” for the amazing fans of tennis.



Article continues below this ad

However, the Serbian champion might not entirely be in the clear yet, as the government could still re-cancel his visa. In fact, this time, it might also come with a 3-year ban from the country.


Article continues below this ad

Clearly, there is still a lot to unpack in this case, and with the Australian Open looming right around the corner, everybody involved is losing precious time.

WATCH THIS STORY: A Look Inside The Million Dollar Lifestyle of Tennis Star Novak Djokovic

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.



Samarveer Singh

235 articles

Samarveer Singh is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. Holding a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Fitness Sciences and Training, Samarveer is obsessed with tennis and basketball. He is also an automotive writer at HotCars.