Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Novak Djokovic ‘admirable’ for standing firm on vaccine decision, top coach claims

Rob Steckley thinks it is both “crazy” and “admirable” that a player of the calibre of Novak Djokovic is missing tennis’ major events as a result of his vaccination status.

Back in February, 20-time Grand Slam great Djokovic reiterated his intention to remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 in an exclusive interview with the BBC.

In the interview, Djokovic outlined that he would be willing to accept missing out on Grand Slams and Masters 1000 events as a consequence of his vaccine decision.

This interview came after Djokovic’s shock deportation from Australia just one day before the Australian Open got underway. In Djokovic’s absence, Slam rival Rafael Nadal pipped both Djokovic and Swiss maestro Roger Federer to a record-breaking 21st Major title.

Djokovic’s competition at the upcoming Madrid and Rome Masters remains uncertain, although he looks set to feature at both the French Open and Wimbledon, assuming Covid-19 restrictions do not change in France and England.

Rob Steckley, coach of both the ATP and WTA World number 14s Denis Shapovalov and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, believes it is “crazy” but “admirable” for a player of Djokovic’s profile to sacrifice major tournaments for his decision to remain unvaccinated.

Speaking on the Match Point Canada podcast, he said said “you have Djokovic who is sticking to his beliefs on not getting fully vaccinated?

“I’m definitely not statistically inclined so bear with me, but I know that his beliefs are something he believes in and that’s what he stands by.

“It’s crazy to think that somebody that’s in his position is going to stick to his guns amongst everything that’s happening against the world.

“So he’s basically going against it. I find that also incredibly admirable.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.