Novak Djokovic has finally arrived at the Australian Open after his visa debacle kept him in hotel detention for several days – but his presence is already making things “uncomfortable.”
According to tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg, Djokovic practiced in Rod Laver Arena Tuesday, but the normal camera feeds were cut during his practice and the doors were locked. A guard gave a time for when the feeds would be back up – presumably after Djokovic was finished.
Additionally, Rothenberg reported that Djokovic hasn’t gotten the warmest of welcomes among fellow players.
“[Djokovic] came to the gym before his hit,” a player said. “The place went silent with everyone staring. Talk about uncomfortable.”
Pro tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, for one, called the tweet “total bs” and said he was warming up in the same gym, telling Rothenberg to “find better gossipers.” But the journalist insisted there was an “awkward vibe” around the tournament, despite Djokovic having support from some players.
It’s been a major ordeal to get the 20-time Grand Slam champion to Melbourne for the tournament. After requesting a vaccine exemption to enter the country, Djokovic had his visa revoked, and spent the weekend in a hotel as a legal battle played out.
Djokovic posted a photo from the Australian Open court on Tuesday, saying he was “grateful” for the judge overturning his visa cancellation.
“Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen. I remain focused on that,” Djokovic wrote. “I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.”