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Tennis: the exemption of Novak Djokovic is a scandal!


The medical exemption granted to Novak Djokovic to participate in the Australian Open arouses indignant reactions in the country. The tennis player has in fact never communicated on his vaccination status. For the sports columnist of Europe 1, Virginie Phulpin, this inequality of treatment will pose a problem.


Novak Djokovic is going to take part in the Australian Open tennis tournament. The world number 1 has announced that he has been granted a medical exemption. This means that he is not vaccinated, as is normally compulsory for the tournament, but has obtained a waiver. The player must therefore explain the reasons for this exemption. The sports editorialist of Europe 1, Virginie Phulpin, returns to this event on Wednesday and explains that nothing obliges her to do so, theoretically.

The inequality of treatment that makes people cringe

“Djokovic can indeed draw the argument of medical confidentiality, and no one will be able to say anything. Except that if the player chooses this option there, it promises a deleterious atmosphere in Melbourne. And it started on Tuesday. An Australian newspaper has headlined in a “Are you Djoking?”, understand, “Is it a joke?” with a play on words, you will understand, between the word Joke, joke, and Djokovic. The Australians have something to be a little upset The people of Melbourne have been in the longest and toughest lockdowns on the planet for two years, and they’re struggling with double standards.

The unequal treatment is also what many second knives in the circuit feel. The non-vaccinated who have not been granted a dispensation, those who have vaccinated precisely to be able to participate, and those who find that being number 1 in the world still offers a lot of privileges. Obviously that’s the image it gives! As if there was a rule for the generalist, and another for the powerful.

Five cases warrant medical exemption

The organizers of the Australian Open had every interest in bringing in the world number 1, we understand. He can write history in Melbourne. If he wins, he will have 21 Grand Slam titles, one more than Nadal and Federer. As much to say to you that the tournament is a little more seller with Djokovic than without him. But if he wants to avoid being booed on the court, he has to give an explanation.

Five cases can lead to a medical exemption: having had heart disease in the past three months, having undergone major surgery in the same period, having mental health problems, having suffered serious physical consequences after a first injection , have had the Covid since August 31.

Good luck to Novak Djokovic for having a credible explanation. But it is possible, after all. Maybe he had the Covid lately. In that case why didn’t he say anything? It would have defused the whole controversy and would have been smarter than letting his father accuse the Australian Open of blackmail as he has been doing for weeks. Weird.

What is painful about this story is that in itself, seeing the world number 1 in Melbourne, that should be great news. But in reality, we are just starting the year with divisions and an unhealthy climate on top of that. Novak Djokovic may overtake Federer and Nadal in Grand Slam titles in two weeks. But if he does not quickly burst the abscess of this difficult to understand exemption, he will remain the unloved one. And it will be difficult to pity him.

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