Renowned for his almost impenetrable defensive abilities, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic is the number one male tennis player in the world. He is, for all intents and purposes, the best tennis player in the world and one of the greatest, if not the greatest tennis player of all time, with 20 Grand Slams.
As an athlete, he ranks among the greatest in the world. But while he did not talk about his own vaccination status, he said last year he was “opposed to vaccination” and we know he has tested positive for the virus in the past as well.
During a Facebook Live in April 2020, he described how he “doesn’t want to be forced by anyone to take the vaccine” that must be required to travel or compete in tournaments. His comments spread like wildfire, especially among conspiracy theorists who believe that vaccines are part of a conspiracy to control the world’s population. It also led vaccine skeptics such as American tennis player Tennys Sandgren to come out in support of her teammate.
Novak’s wife Jelena has also been accused of promoting propaganda on social media after promoting false claims that 5G technology is somehow linked to COVID-19 on her Instagram page. Her post was faked by the social media site, which is owned by Facebook’s parent company Meta.
Now, Novak has made headlines again for similar reasons, after announcing that he would play at the Australian Open after being exempted from vaccination rules under a special arrangement that allowed him to defend the title he won last year. will allow and dominate them since. first win in 2008
Australians have reacted angrily to the news, which is no surprise – and to any observer, it is a strange decision for a country that has been so harsh on its approach to the coronavirus, including Of their population over 16, more than 90% are fully vaccinated. After all, they are now seeing thousands of COVID-19 cases for the first time since flouting some of the world’s strictest restrictions.
It’s always a pleasure to watch any athlete of Novak’s caliber play, but for me and many others the experience will turn sour this year as it flies in the face of a mantra that has left many of us battling this pandemic. have kept alive for almost two years – that we’re all in this together”. I must be sure that I have been jabbed thrice.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the Serbian player will be required to present proof upon arrival that he has a genuine medical exemption from vaccination, with the tournament set to begin in Melbourne on 17 January.
It remains to be seen how this will play out but it is becoming more and more clear that this is a two-part pandemic. The narrative of unity and support is slipping away every day and while we, the little ones, would love garden parties with cheese and wine or allowed to participate in everyday activities without worrying about vaccine passports or masks – it Clearly a certain position has not presented the same odds for those who possess immense or exceptional playing ability. Novak, like it or not, she is a role model. It is a crown that some have worn uncomfortably, but it is the position it occupies and the level of influence it holds in the hundreds of thousands.
Yet instead of making an example of the issue around vaccination status – which the Australian government had the right opportunity to do – 15,000 will instead praise it at the Rod Laver Arena. Nowak, at the center of the storm, is sure to be in for a rocky ride over the next few weeks in Melbourne as this story of vaccine status goes far beyond tennis. The famous thick skin of the player will now be tested as before.
Like so many high-profile players and celebrities, Novak has had ample opportunities to offer clarity on the status of his vaccine. But the refusal to answer important questions has left a void and it is now clear that clouds are about to hang over them. It remains to be seen whether any other player has also been exempted.
For the rest of us, now is the time to start calling out those people who might not be digging in like the rest of us, rather than using it as an excuse or enabling others. Be it a celebrity, sports star or politician. My patience with the pandemic is waning, but it’s even thinner with people who think they’re above it.