Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Novak Djokovic backed by ATP ace in vaccination row: ‘I would have liked to see him play’

Fabio Fognini says he would have liked to see Novak Djokovic allowed to play the Australian Open last month.

Djokovic travelled to Melbourne to defend the title he won in 2021 but was denied entry to the country due to him not being vaccinated against Covid-19.

Australian Border Force rejected his medical exemption, although a judge later deemed their behaviour ‘unreasonable’ and allowed him into Australia.

However, the Minister for Immigration later decided to use his executive power to deport Djokovic on the eve of the tournament.

Fognini, though, says the situation made him ‘sad’ and he feels Djokovic was not treated fairly.

“It was all very crazy, I called him when he was expelled from Australia,” Fognini told Italian publication El Grafico.

“I think he fought because he knew he could do it and the situation seemed sad to me.

“There was more talk about that than tennis in a Grand Slam.

“The truth is that I would have liked to see him play. Only he knows if he had COVID, it’s something very private and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

Novak Djokovic is yet to start his season due to the row, but he is currently scheduled to play his first tournament of 2022 in Dubai later this month.

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.