Aussie tennis star John Millman has weighed in on the debate over Novak Djokovic’s omission from this year’s upcoming US Open, jumping to the Wimbledon champion’s defence.
In an extraordinary outburst on Twitter, the ATP’s number 76-ranked compared his own experience in the United States to the situation Novak Djokovic is facing.
The Slovakian is barred from competing at the end of this month due to his refusal to accept vaccination against COVID-19, which is in direct conflict with the US Open’s updated regulations over player participation.
Millman has been forced to withdraw from the ATP 250 event in Mexico after contracting COVID-19, but took to Twitter to express his dismay at so many people flouting the rules in the US despite stringent measures.
“I was just in the states and it didn’t really feel like too many were following any recommendations or guidelines there,” he tweeted.
“Which is fine, but therefore I can’t see then why Djokovic can’t come and compete.”
His outburst was met with swathes of angry fans, the majority of whom were American, criticising his stance of potentially allowing Novak to compete.
Someone take the phone away from this John Millman clown
— Aurora 22!!!!🏆 (@scorpio1641) August 4, 2022
This comment from John Millman? So disappointing! Are you criticising the USA’s health policy or wanting to bend the rule for one athlete?
— RafaGOAT (@_rafa_only) August 4, 2022
Millman later attempted to clarify his earlier tweets.
“Let me be clear, if everyone in the country was following guidelines then I’m all for them enforcing a vax entry policy,” he said.
“But from what I saw pretty much no one was, the tournament allows non-vaxxed citizens to play and only 30 per cent have had a booster.”
The competition’s stance over vaccination status is a reflection of the wider picture in the States, who require tourists from outside the country to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they can enter.
Twitter is full of people having all types of opinions on different matters but when an athlete has an opinion on something that is not to do with their sport they are told to “stick to your sport”..
— John Millman (@johnhmillman) August 4, 2022
The Australian is familiar with the US Open having reached the quarter-finals there in 2018 – his best run to date at a Grand Slam event. However, his latest debate raging over Twitter will likely have garnered some new enemies.