Novak Djokovic Australian Open 2022

Expert analyst brands criticism of Novak Djokovic’s vaccination stance ‘too much’

Alex Corretja believes Novak Djokovic is receiving “too much” criticism for his vaccination stance as he has “given so much to the sport” that “we need to show respect.”

As 20-time Grand Slam legend Djokovic battled the termination of his medical exemption and visa, it was revealed in the legal proceedings that he was unvaccinated against Covid-19.

Whilst Djokovic won his appeal and had his visa reinstated, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke cancelled his visa once more to deport the Serbian icon just one day before the Australian Open.

However, the second cancellation was not made on the grounds of no vaccination but instead on the notion that Djokovic may spark anti-vaccination sentiment should he be allowed to compete vaccine-free.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Djokovic announced he will continue to abstain from vaccination and is even willing to “sacrifice Grand Slams” should vaccines be made mandatory to compete.

This means Djokovic is now the only player on the ATP Tour within the top 100 who is unvaccinated.

In an interview with Eurosport, Corretja said “he’s been giving us so much.

“You might not like his behaviour sometimes on the court, you can be against that or in favour of his character or whatever. But we can’t forget that he’s someone very special for our sport.

“So just to go out there and criticise him so much, and just try to be hard on him just because he decided that he wants to have the right to choose not to get vaccinated – I think it was too much. And I think we need to show respect.

“It will be shocking if he’s not going to be able to play in the next two years because of not getting the vaccination. That would be devastating for our sport, and therefore sport in general.

“I hope he’s going to be able to play as many tournaments as he can. And definitely he knows that he will need to respect the rules of every country. I know he knows that and he is willing to pay that price.

“If he says ‘I’m not vaccinated, can I play?’ and they say yes, he will go. And if they say ‘you need to get vaccinated’, he will stay at home.

“I think it’d be better if he can play as many tournaments as he can. This will be nicer and we will have the number one in the world playing the tournaments, which I think is the best thing for all of us.”

? Free >> Receive our legendary newsletter

Join >> Tennishead CLUB, the world’s only virtual tennis club

? Social >>Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube

? Order >> World’s best tennis magazine

? Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted retail partner

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.