On Sunday, the broadcasters for the Australian Open had an awkward exchange after the controversial tennis player Novak Djokovic won the competition.

Novak Djokovic is a 35-year-old professional tennis player from Serbia. He is currently ranked number one in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

Djokovic became controversial after he refused to get the Covid-19 vaccine and was barred from competing in the Australian Open last year.

This year, Djokovic was allowed to compete and claimed a 10th victory at the competition in Melbourne. This marked his 22nd Grand Slam title which ties him with tennis star Rafael Nadal for the most all-time among male players.

Novak Djokovic

After his win, sports broadcasters John McEnroe and Chris Fowler had an awkward discussion on ESPN over the deportation of Djokovic from Australia last year due to his refusal to be vaccinated.

McEnroe, an International Tennis Hall-of-Famer, criticized U.S. politicians in July for refusing to let Djokovic enter the country because he is unvaccinated.

“These politicians are getting in the way too much,” said McEnroe. “They did it in Australia. Let’s let the guy come in and play in the U.S. I mean, come on. This is ridiculous.”

In August, McEnroe expressed his thoughts on Djokovic’s U.S. Open ban in an interview with Fox News:

“Well, first of all, I think it’s BS. That’s what I think. I think he should be allowed to play. My personal opinion, as I’ve been vaccinated, I had a booster shot, that’s up to the individual. If I were him, and I’m not him, he’s won a lot more majors than me probably because he’s dug in his heels and found the gear, that will, that very few people in any sport have ever found, so that’s part of what’s made him so great, he sticks to his guns. He’s perfectly entitled to make the decision.”

On Sunday, McEnroe again criticized the United States’ continued refusal to let Djokovic compete, leading to an on-air debate between himself and his fellow broadcaster.

“He gets deported out of Australia, doesn’t get any points at Wimbledon, can’t play the [U.S.] Open,” McEnroe said, suggesting that Djokovic’s treatment has been unreasonable.

Fowler jumped in, arguing, “He made choices that led to that for some of those things.”

“I don’t think… I think he should have been committed to play,” McEnroe said.

“Okay, well that’s a debate,” Fowler responded. “He did make choices that led to that… But that’s forgot for the moment.”

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