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‘I get dozens of emails every day’ – Novak Djokovic faces backlash on playing Italian Open



NOVAK DJOKOVIC has finally got his 2022 season underway this week at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Novak Djokovic was able to get his 2022 season up and running this week in Dubai following the controversial events in Australia last month. The world No 1 was eventually denied the opportunity to play in the Australian Open having not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The 10-day saga which saw Djokovic holed up in a detention hotel for most of his time Down Under, saw the Serbian tennis superstar face heavy scrutiny for his vaccine stance.

Djokovic opted to stay silent in the immediate aftermath before speaking at length on his decision in interviews last week.

He admitted that he is prepared to miss major tournaments “because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else.”



There remains uncertainty on whether he will be able to compete at the French Open, Wimbledon or US Open this year.

But the 34-year-old made his return to action on the tour yesterday with a strong win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

Djokovic was greeted on court by loud cheers from jubilant fans excited to see him make his return.

How much Djokovic ends up playing this year remains to be seen though given countries all over the world have their own Covid travel restrictions in place.

Italy’s sports undersecretary Valentina Vezzali recently admitted that Djokovic could be allowed to play at the Italian Open this year as a ‘Super Green Pass’ is not needed to enter the country

But President of the Italian Olympic Committee, Giovanni Malago, is not happy with the prospect of Djokovic being allowed to play in the tournament.


“It absolutely wouldn’t be right,” Malago said.

Novak Djokovic

“Even if you shower in a camper and eat and sleep in improvised situations, the message is totally wrong.

“I get dozens of emails every day from mums and dads who are furious because their children don’t have the green pass and cannot do sport.

“Explain to me why a champion who is in the same situation can.”

Djokovic has won an impressive five Italian Open titles in his career, but Rafael Nadal has reigned supreme in Rome with 10 wins to his name.

The Masters 1000 event will likely be the final event either Nadal or Djokovic will play in before the French Open starts at the end of May.