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Novak Djokovic - Curious Case of Vaccination
Feb 18, 2022, 6:22:00 AM

Novak Djokovic - Curious Case of Vaccination

The covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on every human being on the planet. It has affected all of us mentally, physically, and more than anything financially. When it comes to sport, the format of all the sports have been changed and due to the precautionary measures, the players have reached a point where they're mentally tired.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, all of us are waiting for its end or a perfect vaccine to take care of it. Even after the availability of vaccines in the market, there is a continuous debate on forced vaccination by the respective authorities. A similar story has come into the highlight in recent news where the tennis maestro Novak Djokovic chose not to take any vaccination and miss out on some of the biggest tournaments of tennis.

There is no doubt that Djokovic is one of the biggest tennis players the sport has ever seen. He has conquered every milestone in Tennis and has 20 grand slams on his name. Djokovic is such a powerful persona in Tennis that his appearance takes the whole tournament to the next level. For more than a decade now, Djokovic has made his presence felt in every tournament in the world.

However, his stand on not getting the vaccination can lead up to him missing out on some of the major tennis tournaments in the world. We might not see Djokovic’s backhand in French Open and even Wimbledon. Speaking exclusively to the BBC, he said missing competitions, such as the French Open, over his jab status, was "the price that I'm willing to pay".

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Novak Djokovic - The Story of Australian Open

The whole story of Novak’s controversy started in the Australian Open in January 2022. Novak was forced to miss out on the tournament after his stand on not taking the vaccination. The Serbian player was all set to begin his 2022 season by participating in the ATP tour but pulled out because of some personal reasons. However, he was all set to participate in the Australian Open as he was one of the handfuls of players and staff to be granted a medical exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination by Tennis Australia and the Department of Health of the state government of Victoria.

As soon as he landed in Melbourne, Djokovic was detained by Australian Border Forces as he was unvaccinated and did not meet the requirement of unvaccinated travellers. He was forced to stay in detention in a hotel and was made to wait for a court hearing. It was later revealed that the player contracted Covid-19 in December and Australian authorities cleared him to travel once he recovered. Djokovic also revealed that the same was not mentioned in the visa paperwork because of a human error. However, Alex Hawke, Australia's Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs, exercised his ministerial powers and cancelled his visa completely, because of which Djokovic missed the whole tournament.

What Exactly is Novak’s Point?

The 20-time Grand Slam winner is in the headlines because in global media opinions on his stand are being made. The primary issue here is that there are very less sports lovers who can understand the point that Novak is trying to make.

The world's number one men's tennis player said he should not be associated with the anti-vax movement but supported an individual's right to choose. Djokovic clearly says that he is not against vaccination. He has already confirmed that he did get his vaccines when he was a kid. However, what Djokovic is talking about is the freedom to choose whether an individual should go ahead with the current vaccination program or not. He has mentioned that no individual can be forced to get vaccinations.

The player is ready to remain on his stand at the cost of his career. It will be very tough to see him missing out on some primary Tennis tournaments while being in his prime.

Novak Djokovic – Author’s Opinion

Novak Djokovic is the number one tennis player, and his credentials are proof of it. He has risen from the ashes to achieve the milestones in his career. Djokovic is mentally so strong as a sportsman that it has become impossible to beat him in any situation.

If we dive deep in, as an individual who has been a fan of the sport and Novak Djokovic, his decision of not getting the vaccines is right. None of us can be forced to do something which we are not willing to do. It is an individual’s right to put something inside his body. The tennis star is not against vaccination, he is against his vaccination. There is a high possibility that Novak is not well-read about the vaccines and their side effects or positive side. He is an athlete who is in his prime and from his perspective, he is not willing to risk his body.

Djokovic is, by any measure, a remarkable individual. Raised amid two wars in the former Yugoslavia, by parents who sold the family gold and negotiated with loan sharks to fund his ambitions, he is fluent in six languages, arguably the greatest player ever to pick up a racket; and - most pertinently - a deeply committed libertarian who believes strongly in individual autonomy.

Novak should be respected for his stand even at the cost of him missing out on the tournament and even missing out on the number one states.

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Words: Shimit Mathur

Image: PA