Novak Djokovic Australian Open series 2022

‘I hated it’ – Multi-Slam winning coach blasts exemption that set off Novak Djokovic debacle

Darren Cahill thinks the possibility of a medical exemption to play the Australian Open unvaccinated should have only applied to a specific group that did not include Novak Djokovic. 

The world number one was initially given an exemption to play the Australian Open while unvaccinated on the grounds that he had contracted Covid within a certain period before the tournament, his positive result coming on 16th December.

However, Cahill, who coached each of Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Simon Halep to Major titles, believes that that was not the spirit of the exemption in the first place.

“It’s been a cloud hanging over the players,” he told Channel Nine’s Wide World of Sport on the Djokovic debacle.

“I hated the exemption that he had, because I think that exemption is really for people who wish to get vaccinated and they can’t get vaccinated because they’ve contracted Covid.

“If you have an acute medical illness or something that holds you back from getting it, no problem, but I didn’t like the whole thing from the start.

“It was a mess from the start and then it just got worse and worse.”

It was clear that unlike those players that Cahill describes, Djokovic did not wish to get vaccinated.

Ironically, he was then fortunate to contract Covid just a month before the Australian Open was due to start, subsequently receiving an exemption from vaccination.

Cahill’s comments add to those of seven-time Slam winner John McEnroe who described the past two weeks of news surrounding Djokovic as “an absolute joke.”

Following two court appeals, Djokovic was eventually deported from Australia on the eve of the Melbourne Slam.

In a statement, the 20-time Major champion said he was “extremely disappointed” with the ruling but would comment further for some time.

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