Djokovic admits feeling ‘hurt’ after tennis world turned on him amid anti-vax row

Novak Djokovic reacts to his media coverage in February

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Djokovic, 35, is battling for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals this afternoon on Centre court. The tournament’s first seed, who has won the championships six out of the last ten times, takes on Jannik Sinner. The world number three’s quarter final clash against the 20-year-old Italian will be shown live on BBC One. Djokovic has only dropped two sets so far during his Wimbledon title defence, one of which came against Tim van Rijthoven in the last-16 on Sunday.

Although the 20-time Grand Slam winner’s SW19 journey has been relatively smooth, the start of his 2022 was anything but.

The Serb was dramatically deported from Australia in mid-January after losing a visa battle, leaving him unable to defend with his Australian Open title.

Australia’s government banned the unvaccinated tennis ace from the country due to the potential risk of him encouraging anti-vaxxers opposed to COVID-19 jabs due to his previous comments.

In his first interview after being deported, Djokovic admitted he was left “hurt” from the vaccination saga after being snubbed by his tennis colleagues.

Speaking to the BBC in February, he said: “It was not the regular kind of training days that I would normally have prior to the Grand Slam competition.

JUST IN: Kate was ‘mortified’ by her dad Michael Middleton after embarrassing Wimbledon gaffe

“I had helicopters flying above every single training session that I had on Rod Laver Arena, cameras all over the place.

“Also, I felt that energy and that those looks from my colleagues and people that were in the tennis facility… that really hurt me a lot.

“And obviously, I understand that they had a perception that was based on what they were seeing from media reports.

“And I wasn’t going out in the media, because of what was previously said in respecting the legal process and respecting the Australian Open.”

He added: “But at that time, I really wanted to speak to everyone and give my explanation.”

Many stars from the tennis world weighed in on Djokovic’s decision to remain unvaccinated, including Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard said: “Everybody is free to take their own decisions, but then there are some consequences.”

Djokovic first aired his anti-vax views during the pandemic in April 2020 as the world was in the throes of the biggest health emergency for a century.

The star spoke to several of his fellow Serbian athletes in a live Facebook chat.

He said: “Personally, I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.

‘Uncomfortable’ Meghan Markle moment that stunned Wimbledon fan: ‘It was bonkers’ [LATEST]
Kate stunned royal fans when she broke protocol to kiss Roger Federer THREE times [INSIGHT]
Nick Kyrgios’ royal roots laid bare as mother’s little known princess title unearthed [ANALYSIS]

“But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.

“I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.

“Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet.”

However, in his interview with the BBC’s Amol Rajan in February, the Wimbledon champion appeared to row back on his earlier remarks.

He said he “was never against vaccination” and told the broadcaster he was vaccinated as a child.

He added: “But I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.”

The tennis ace claimed his decision to opt out of Covid jabs was based on his health principles.

He claimed to have “always been a great student of wellness, wellbeing, health, nutrition”.

Coverage of Djokovic vs Sinner will be shown on BBC One this afternoon.

Source: Read Full Article