Ashleigh Barty has weighed in on public outrage over the granting of a medical exemption to Novak Djokovic to play at the Australian Open. The Australian said she did not want to comment on Djokovic’s personal affairs even though she understood why fans were appalled.

Djokovic took to social media on Tuesday to confirm his participation in the 2022 Australian Open. Although not vaccinated, the world No.1 is eligible to play in Melbourne on the basis of an exemption medical.

The decision sparked immediate outrage from users on social media. Fans felt that the 20-time Grand Slam champion had received undue favor due to his accolades and reputation in tennis instead of legitimate health concerns.

Speaking at a press conference after her match against Coco Gauff at Adelaide International 1, Barty said she did not find the Australian public’s reaction surprising.

The world number 1 noted that Victoria has been subject to very strict lockdowns over the past two years, even more than the rest of the country.

In such a scenario, the Australian felt it was natural for people to be angry at Djokovic’s favoritism when they were forced to obey the rules.

“I know how difficult it has been for Australians all over our country, but the Victorians in particular have had a really tough trot over the past two years,” Barty said. “I understand why they can be frustrated with the decision.”

Despite all this, the 25-year-old has not revealed her personal opinion on the matter. According to Barty, the decisions have already been made and his thoughts on the subject are completely irrelevant.

“It’s not my decision,” Barty said. “These decisions are being made and they are completely beyond my control. Ultimately, I have no interest in talking about Novak’s medical history.”

Calls for Novak Djokovic to disclose the exact reasons for his medical exemption are on the rise

Novak Djokovic faces growing demands to disclose exact details of his medical exemption
Novak Djokovic faces growing demands to disclose exact details of his medical exemption

More than 24 hours after Novak Djokovic broke the news to the public, he continues to remain in the limelight. Tennis fans have asked Djokovic to reveal the exact reasons for his medical exemption.

Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal said the Serb would be better off giving “explanations” about the situation. Great Britain player Jamie Murray also echoed similar sentiments.

Comments from Australian Home Secretary Karen Andrews suggest the federal government could revoke Djokovic’s exemption to enter Australia. https://t.co/G355p25aVz

Australia’s Home Secretary went further and said Djokovic will need to present appropriate proof if he is to travel freely within the country.

Tensions are mounting and only time will tell whether Novak Djokovic’s medical exemption is the product of legitimate concerns or not.


Edited by Nihal Taraporvala

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