With Novak Djokovic set to miss out on competing at the US Open in 2022, an unlikely Australian has jumped to his defence.
John Millman, currently ranked 76 in the world, was recently in the USA where he made the round of 16 at the Atlanta Open.
The 33-year-old has since been ruled out of action with COVID-19 and believes his experience in the country highlights why Djokovic should be allowed to compete.
The recent Wimbledon champion isn’t allowed into the US due to the country requiring visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – something Djokovic has refused to do.
The US Open recently confirmed they’ll be abiding by the country’s vaccine requirements all but ruling Djokovic out of the Grand Slam event.
Millman believes the current handling of the pandemic in the US shouldn’t be denying Djokovic his place at the tournament.
“I’m out with covid. I was just in the 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.
“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…”
Millman’s comments have inevitably attracted plenty of attention online and he subsequently defended his post by adding: “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 was scheduled to play at Los Cabos Open in Mexico on Wednesday but the match was called off.
The Aussie is no stranger to the US Open having made the quarter-finals there in 2018 – his best run to date at a Grand Slam event.
Djokovic himself recently posted on social media thanking fans for their support and revealed he’s still holding out hope of competing at the US Open.
“It feels special that people connect with my tennis career in such a loving and supportive way and wish for me to continue to compete,” Djokovic posted on Instagram.
“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!”