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'A part of his choices': John McEnroe gets cut off by commentator while defending Novak Djokovic's unvaccinated history

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images - Other images courtesy AustralianOpen / Twitter (screenshot)

Tennis legend John McEnroe and ESPN commentator Chris Fowler verbally jostled on-air during the celebration of famously unvaccinated tennis player Novak Djokovic's win at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was deported from Australia in 2022 over his vaccination status, even missing the U.S. Open tournament for the same reason. Australia had some of the strictest COVID-19 policies in the world, which included forcible confinement of its citizens in quarantine camps.

While Djokovic was celebrating his victory at the 2023 Australian Open, McEnroe began to recap what the pro had gone through in the year before regarding his deportation and inability to play in certain tournaments. While listing the obstacles, co-announcer Fowler argued that his disqualifications were fair.

"He got defaulted at the Open when he hits the lineperson by mistake, he gets deported out of Australia, doesn't get any points at Wimbledon, can't play the Open," McEnroe listed, before Fowler interjected.

"A part of his choices, to be fair. He made choices that led to that for some of those things," Fowler said.

"I think he should have been committed to play," McEnroe responded.

"OK, well, that’s a debate," Fowler replied. "He did make choices that led to that, but that’s forgot for the moment," he concluded.

In 2022, McEnroe defended Djokovic regarding the U.S. Open, calling it "BS" that he was unable to compete:

"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," McEnroe said.

"The guy is one of the greatest athletes in any sport. He’s very careful about anything he puts in his body," the legend continued in the summer of 2022.

"So, it’s frustrating to see at this point when we’re sitting here and all having a great time at an LAFC soccer game and that he’s not allowed into the country right now because he’s not vaccinated."

In 2023, an Italian tennis star named Camila Giorgi was accused of using a fake vaccine passport in order to compete in international tennis tournaments, which, like Djokovic, she would otherwise have been barred from playing in.

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