Taylor Fritz has hit back at a Novak Djokovic fan for taking a dig at him after he made a light-hearted comment about the 21-time Grand Slam during one of his press conferences at the Western & Southern Open.
After beating Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the ATP Masters 1000 event on Wednesday, the 11th seed was asked for his thoughts about Djokovic not being able to play at the US Open due to his unvaccinated status.
Full transcript of that part of the press conference:
Q. Have you been asked about Novak and your thoughts on that?
TAYLOR FRITZ: No.
Q. What are your thoughts on that?
TAYLOR FRITZ: It’s tough. I think on one side of it, like I think it’s tough to make certain exceptions to the rules for certain people. I don’t know how I feel about that, but then, at the same time, it’s like, I mean, we’re not the most COVID-safe country in general with, you know, how we are doing things.
So it does seem like, you know, what’s the harm of letting the best player in the world come play the US Open?
But like I said, at the same time, it’s conflicting, because I don’t know how I feel about making special exceptions just for one person just because of who they are. So I see both sides of the argument, to be honest.
It’s tough to, you know, differentiate obviously. It’s good for every player if Novak is not in the draw (smiling).
Q. As a defender, would you like him there or are you happy that he’s not?
TAYLOR FRITZ: Oh, I don’t know. Novak is one of the only people on tour that I have never beaten, so I don’t know (smiling).
The American’s reply was clearly a joke, but a Novak Djokovic fan took exception to his comments.
Pavvy G wrote on Twitter: “This is the reason why so few players are publicly supporting him and why of course the establishment don’t want him to play… the know if he plays he wins.”
He continued: “It’s quite sad that players are quite happy to win titles wanting it to be easier for them. They really don’t care about it being a level playing field or equality. Most of them will do what they can to get an advantage even if it means tearing up Tennis at the same time. Sad.
“The full response is even worse. He talks about it being tough to make exceptions to the rules, when the CDC who have been making the Covid rules have just said that unvaccinated should be treated the same as vaccinated. So he either doesn’t even know that or chose to ignore it.”
Fritz was unimpressed by the comments.
Nothing new just me getting ripped for making a joke about Novak being better then everyone, the issue with press transcripts is it’s just raw text and it’s not clear the manner in how things are said, what i jokingly said felt like a compliment to Novak more than anything else
— Taylor Fritz (@Taylor_Fritz97) August 18, 2022
He replied: “Nothing new jus me getting ripped for making a joke about Novak being better then everyone, the issue with press transcripts is it’s just raw text and it’s not clear the manner in how things are said, what i jokingly said felt like a compliment to Novak more than anything else
The United States Centers for Disease Control has in recent week relaxed their Covid-19 regulations, but they are yet to update their guidelines when it comes to allowing unvaccinated foreigners entry into the country so Djokovic remains unable to travel to the United States.
The reigning Wimbledon champion remains on the entry list for the final Grand Slam of the season as the United States Tennis Association does not have a vaccination mandate for players, but they are following guidelines from the government and there remains a possibility that the travel rules could be amended in the next few days.
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