Novak Djokovic deportation fiasco splits tennis as rival Rafael Nadal brands situation a ‘circus’

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Fellow Spaniard Muguruza, the 2017 Wimbledon and 2016 French Open champion, said of those – like Djokovic – who have refused to be jabbed: “It’s a nonsense battle – sooner or later everyone will have to get vaccinated.

She added: “Yes, I am vaccinated. I know the requirements of the tournament and I do not see why it is necessary to do it another way.”

Of the Djokovic deportation farce, she said: “What’s happening is a show and I don’t know if this is good for tennis.”

Navratilova told Good Morning Britain: “It’s beyond belief, really. What a saga, and it all could have been avoided. Too many people messed up and took some things for granted.

“I just wish that Novak would have taken the vaccination to begin with. He’s a great leader, and amazing, amazing athlete, obviously. I admire him so much and have defended him so many times but I cannot defend the choice to not be vaccinated, if you don’t want the vaccine because you don’t know, don’t believe it, whatever.

“You still need to take one for the team. If you want to lead, and need to lead by example, and that example would be what’s good for the greater good.”

Kevin Anderson, who lost to Djokovic in the 2018 Wimbledon final after being beaten by Nadal in the final of the previous year’s US Open, was surprised at the outcome of the court hearing.

Criticising Djokovic for his triumphant announcement last week on Instagram that he had been granted a medical exemption to defend his Australian Open crown, Anderson told BBC Radio Five Live: “I think Novak did a very poor job in reading the temperature and his Instagram post I think really rubbed many people up the wrong way, and I can completely understand why. 

“It’s been an unfortunate set of circumstances, and I’m actually a little bit surprised given what I’ve seen in the news.

“Obviously, I don’t know all the intimate details, but I’d say my first reaction is a little bit surprising. I kind of thought that they would stick with their original decision.”

John Isner, who Anderson beat to reach the 2018 Wimbledon final, reacted by comparing Djokovic to a professional wrestler who quit after becoming disillusioned.

“Only thing left to do is win the trophy again and leave town never to return, a la CM Punk,” Isner posted on Twitter.

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