Tennis star labels Djokovic ‘selfish’ for not bending to vaccination demands
Portuguese ace Joao Sousa has hit out at 'selfish' rival Novak Djokovic while claiming that his Australian Open visa drama is 'not good for tennis'.
Like Djokovic, world number 140 Sousa is currently Down Under – albeit with far less of a furor surrounding his presence.
"Djokovic has his ideals. [But] what is happening is not good for tennis," Sousa told Portuguese tennis site Bola Amarela when asked about the unvaccinated world number one, who is facing a battle to remain in Australia.
"I can put myself in his shoes and understand what he's going through, [and] I understand that it's what he believes in, but it's a little [bit of a] selfish attitude towards fellow professionals because many of us – not me – also didn't want to get vaccinated and we had to do it in order to play.
"Those were the rules. But they have turned out to be rules that Djokovic managed to get around," Sousa continued.
"And he was the only one who is not vaccinated to come here and compete in this Grand Slam.
"For all other players, it is not an easy decision to accept. But I understand that he defends his ideals. We have to accept it and what matters is that everything is fine, [and] healthy," he finished.
As the Portuguese journalist responsible for the short interview shared a snippet on social media, Djokovic's followers immediately rushed to his defense.
João Sousa on the Djokovic saga. "I respect that he fights for what he believes and I can be empathetic with what he is going through in Australia, but it's a bit selfish from him to arrive here as the only player unvaccinated. It's tough for us players to accept that".— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 11, 2022
"Joao needs to focus on his own crumbling career, and [not] worry about drama surrounding the GOAT," one advised him.
"See now I thought Novak cared about lower ranked players," someone replied. "I guess [it's] only ones who are loyal to him?"
João needs to focus on his own crumbling career, and worry about drama surrounding the GOAT.— michael epps (@michael_epps) January 11, 2022
See now I thought Novak cared about lower ranked players. I guess only ones who are loyal to him?— Rebecca Winter (@SkyCatch_Her) January 11, 2022
"Completely failed logic by Joao," another fan chimed in.
"It sounds like, 'I didn't have balls to stand up for my beliefs, so you shouldn't be allowed to do it either'."
Completely failed logic by Joao. It sounds like, "I didn't have balls to stand up for my beliefs, so you shouldn't be allowed to do it either"— Ykell (@Ykell1) January 12, 2022
Selfish?!This is his body , his blood He is the only one who can decide what to put in it and novak said that if the unvaccinated players aren't allowed to come then he would never come to Aus But the Aus gov allowed them to enter with exemptions So it's Aus gov's wrong— Ibrahim Al khoury 🇸🇾🇷🇸✝️✝️ (@IbrahimKhory) January 11, 2022
"Novak didn't invent those rules," a separate party pointed out.
"If anyone thinks that this isn't fair, don't point your finger at him, but Tennis Australia or some other organization which allowed medical exemptions.
"If the vaccine was the only way to be there, Novak wouldn't play. But this is not his fault," it was protested.
Elsewhere, a compatriot advised Sousa not to "get caught up in this political sh*t storm".