‘Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams Would Like a Word’: Twitterati Takes Offense to French Sports Minister Welcoming Novak Djokovic to French Open 2022

Published 01/12/2022, 5:56 AM EST
TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 31: Novak Djokovic of Team Serbia reacts at match point to be defeated by Pablo Carreno Busta of Team Spain during the Men’s Singles Bronze Medal Match on day eight of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 31, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)


The tennis community is extremely active right now. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is in Australia, hoping to defend his title at the Australian Open.

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He had secured a medical exemption to be able to play the tournament. However, the Australian government was against that and detained the Serb upon arrival. What followed was a long and arduous court case.

Moreover, amidst all the controversy, the French Sports Minister has talked about Djokovic in France. She stated that Novak Djokovic could play in the French Open in May regardless of his stance and status surrounding COVID-19.

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The internet is unhappy with France’s decision to welcome Novak Djokovic

French Minister for Sports Roxana Maracineanu told French Radio this week that Novak Djokovic is welcome to play at Rolland Garros this year in May. Despite being unvaccinated, the Serbian will be able to play the clay-court Grand Slam.

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 13. Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates as he holds the trophy after winning his Men’s Singles Final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during Day Fifteen of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on June 13, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

However, many on the internet instantly took offense to this statement. Bearing in mind the way the French Open administration has treated other stars like Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in the past, people are of the opinion that France is bending the rules just to give special treatment to the Serbian champion.

Thus, Twitter users are complaining about the ‘hypocrisy’ that they are spotting at the end of the French administration. They have compared the situation to 2018, when megastar Serena Williams’ catsuit was banned, citing ‘rules’. Now, however, the rules don’t seem to apply to Novak Djokovic, who is flouting vaccination norms.

Another user compared a similar situation where the French Open administration did not pay any heed to Naomi Osaka, who had refused to participate in post-match press conferences for the sake of her mental health. In fact, they had even fined her for skipping her conference, following which Osaka pulled out of the tournament.

Twitter isn’t happy with the stark contrast in rules

Another user mentioned how Rolland Garros punished “Serena for wearing a catsuit that was for her health”. Yet, Novak Djokovic, despite his public stance against public-mandated vaccinations, will be playing the French Open even though the established rules saying differently.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – MARCH 20. (L-R) Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Serena Williams of the United States talk during the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new Stadium Court at the Hard Rock Stadium, before the first match of the Miami Open on March 20, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

The apparent double standards aren’t invisible to Twitterati, who keep asking the same questions about Djokovic being welcome at the French Open. “But Serena can’t play in a catsuit?” one Twitter user asked.

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Moreover, another user asked the same question with Naomi Osaka in mind. “But Naomi can’t skip for her mental health?” they asked. Moreover, even American sports journalist Taylor Rooks took to Twitter to express her disappointment.

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“These concessions are quite the luxury,” Rooks wrote. She stated how this was the same tournament that banned Serena saying “one must respect the game and the place.” “Moments like these show the clear bending of rules,” Rooks tweeted.

WATCH THIS STORY: Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Andy Murray and Other Tennis Stars’ Biggest Controversies in 2021

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Samarveer Singh

236 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.

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