‘It has been the trainwreck of trainwrecks. Either way it’s a joke’: McEnroe’s big statement on Djokovic’s 2022 season

Tennis legend John McEnroe required just three words to sum up Novak Djokovic’s 2022 season. The Serb missed two Grand Slam events – the Australian Open and the US Open – owing to his refusal to take Covid vaccination. He then failed to defend his French Open crown as he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the quarters before reclaiming the Wimbledon title. McEnroe, who was left disappointed at Djokovic missing so many events this year, called his 2022 season “trainwreck of trainwrecks”.

Djokovic patiently waited for his opportunity at the US Open and had a glimmer of hope owing to relaxation of rules, but had to withdraw just hours before the announcement of the men’s singles draw as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that unvaccinated foreigners will not be allowed to enter the country.

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Speaking to Eurosport on the first day at Flushing Meadows, McEnroe called the entire saga a “joke” as he questioned the logic behind the rule.

“Let’s not forget he was unvaccinated last year, so you’ve got to explain to me why he was unvaccinated and played last year and now he’s unvaccinated and can’t play,” he said.

“Either way it’s a joke in my opinion. It’s sad. That’s what it is. Me personally, I’ve been vaccinated, I got boosted. If I were him – and I’m not him, that’s probably why he’s won 21 [Grand Slams] and I won seven, because of his belief in himself and his willingness to just do what he believes is best for him.

“But he’s giving up a lot obviously by making this stand. I respect it, but it’s really unfortunate. His year has been the trainwreck of trainwrecks. Thank God he won Wimbledon.”

Nevertheless, Djokovic has a busy September ahead of him. He will play a Davis Cup tie against Spain before playing alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray in the Laver Cup.

“[This year] took him from Australia, where he was tossed out, to recovering to some extent at the French Open, and then winning Wimbledon, and you’re like ‘okay, come to the US Open, maybe you can be No.1 in the world?’ But they don’t even let him play. I can’t believe it,” McEnroe added.

“Couldn’t he have got an exemption? But then again he got that in Australia and they tossed him out. Can you imagine the debacle here!”

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