5 controversial tennis moments in 2022 ft. Novak Djokovic’s visa scandal and Simona Halep’s suspension

5 controversial tennis moments in 2022 ft. Novak Djokovic’s visa scandal and Simona Halep’s suspension

The 2022 tennis season has seen many memorable moments on and off the court.

Rafael Nadal has made a successful comeback, winning the Australian Open and the French Open to lead the Grand Slam race. Novak Djokovic has followed Nadal in his bid to win his 21st major title at Wimbledon.

The sport has also said goodbye to iconic Roger Federer and Serena Williams, and Ashleigh Barty’s retirement after her Australian Open win came as a big surprise.

Iga Swiatek quickly rose to the top and had a dominant run, winning several Grand Slam titles and climbing to the top of the rankings. However, alongside good things, some players dominate the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Let’s take a look at five controversial moments from the past year

1. Novak Djokovic’s visa scandal:

Novak Djokovic’s stance on vaccinations is well known, and since vaccinations were a requirement for traveling to many places, it was sure to cause him some problems. It has issued an order requiring all players to attend this year’s Australian Open to be vaccinated or to receive a valid therapeutic use exemption if they are not vaccinated.

Djokovic was one of the few players granted waivers by the Australian Tennis Association and the Victorian Department of Health. This is because a Serb tested positive for COVID-19 in December 2021. A visa was issued, but Australian Border Patrol Force arrested him in early January while trying to enter the country.

This sparked a series of high-profile events that led to Djokovic’s visa being revoked and eventually expulsion from the country. He was also given a three-year travel ban to Australia.

Djokovic also refused to comply with vaccination requirements in the United States and Canada. As a result, he missed this year’s US Open and four Masters Tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, and Cincinnati.

2. Wimbledon bans Russian and Belarusian athletes:

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a global impact on all fronts, and tennis was no exception. The country was banned from participating in the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup. Athletes from Russia and Belarus were also asked to compete without wearing their national flags.

However, things escalated sharply towards Wimbledon when tournament organizers banned Russian and Belarusian players from participating altogether. Community reaction was mixed, but the ATP and WTA responded by removing the ranking points normally awarded for the event. Tournament organizers were recently fined $1 million for banning players, prompting them to reconsider the ban next year.

3. Sara Bejlek groped her coach at the US Open:

Sara Bejlek, the 16-year-old star has come a long way this year. As a junior, she won the French Open in doubles and reached the semi-finals in singles. The teenager decided to try the pros at the US Open and she entered the qualifiers.

Bejlek made her first peloton by defeating Heather Watson in the final qualifying round. She went to the team to celebrate the occasion, but then things got out of hand for her. The Czech star’s coach hugged her but touched her inappropriately.

The footage went viral and met with considerable backlash as the gestures were deemed offensive, especially considering Beljek’s age.

4. Nick Kyrgios accused of assaulting ex-girlfriend:

Nick Kyrgios has always been involved in some kind of drama, but it was much more serious than his usual antics when his ex-girlfriend accused him of assaulting her. His relationship with Chiara Passari ended disastrously in late 2021 when police had to intervene after a dispute between them spiralled out of control.

In July 2022, it was revealed that the 27-year-old Australian star was charged with joint assault for allegedly injuring Passari , so he had to appear in court. After missing another public hearing in Tokyo for the competition in October, the Australian hopes to attend the next court hearing in February 2023.

5. Simona Halep tests positive for a banned substance:

After an injury-plagued 2021, Simona Halep has recovered strongly this year. She won several titles, reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon, and returned to the top ten. However, the tennis world was shocked when it was revealed that the former world No. 1 tested positive for the banned substance Roxadustat in October.

Halep has adamantly maintained her innocence in the matter but was provisionally suspended from touring after the discovery. It appears authorities have found a way to clear her name and have requested an emergency hearing in light of the new findings.

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