Aussie tennis star John Millman has sparked a Twitter firestorm after weighing in on Novak Djokovic’s US Open status.
Millman took to Twitter to reveal he had pulled out of an ATP 250 event in Mexico after he tested positive to Covid-19.
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But he also took the opportunity to question why Djokovic was currently barred from entering the US to play in the tournament.
“I’m out with Covid. I was just in the (United) states and it didn’t really feel like too many were following any recommendations or guidelines there. Which is fine, but therefore I can’t see then why @DjokerNole can’t come and compete, ”Millman tweeted.
Djokovic has revealed he is “preparing to compete” at the final grand slam of the season although currently his refusal to get vaccinated for Covid will see him barred from entry to the US.
Under current rules, all visitors to the United States must be fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
Since his Wimbledon victory, Djokovic has been hoping for a change in the rules in America, despite more than 200,000 new cases and 1057 deaths on August 3. However the average has been around 400 deaths a day, while more than 12,500 Americans died during July according to USA Today.
Millman was slammed for his post and returned an hour later to clarify his stance.
“Let me be clear. If everyone in the country was following guidelines then I’m all for them enforcing a vax entry policy. But from what I saw pretty much no one was, the tournament allows non vax citizens to play and only 30% have had a booster .., ”he wrote.
Tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg replied to the second tweet, posting: “Could be wrong, but I’m not sure there’s a non-vaxxed US citizen player whose ranking gets them anywhere near the US Open field currently? This remains an issue for one individual.
“And FWIW, media has to show proof of vaccination to get our credentials for US Open.”
Hours later, Millman replied: “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’.”
Millman is currently ranked world No. 76 and has automatically qualified for the US Open.
Djokovic was named on the entry list for the grand slam late last month.
However, the US Open said it was just the process, not a hint about a possible exemption for the tournament which starts on August 29.
“Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men’s and women’s singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event,” a statement from the US read.
“The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens.”
Late last month, Djokovic took to Instagram to post a picture of him training, hinting he’d be ready to go, even if there was a late change to the US ‘entry rules.
“I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to US. Fingers crossed !, ”Djokovic wrote on Instagram late last month.
There have been plenty of calls for Djokovic to be allowed into the country, including politicians and more than 46,000 people who have signed a petition calling on the authorities to allow 21-time Slam winner into the country.
But Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic said he doesn’t believe the rules will change.
“There is always hope,” Ivanisevic told La Repubblica.
“Novak will do everything to be there, maybe he will get a special visa. But there are only two weeks.
“And, personally, I have zero hope that [Joe] Biden will change the rules before the tournament starts.
“For me it is all nonsense and bull ****.
If you are vaccinated but positive you can enter the United States. If you are not vaccinated but negative, you are banned. There is too much politics in sports. “