Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Patrick Mouratoglou ‘extremely surprised’ by Novak Djokovic vaccine stance but urges ‘total respect’

While Patrick Mouratoglou is shocked by the decision of Novak Djokovic to remain unvaccinated he recognises that he deserves respect for the conviction of his beliefs. 

The coach to 23-time Slam champion Serena Williams is one of many prominent figures within the sport to weigh in on the world number one’s statements during a BBC interview.

Djokovic explained he is willing to pay the price of foregoing future Slams to stand by his principles, with former pros Pam Shriver and Alex Corretja among those to respond with their opinions.

“I’m extremely surprised with Novak [Djokovic’s] statement,” Mouratoglou began in a video on his YouTube channel.

“I would never ever think that would be his choice.

‘We all know that he’s competing to become the greatest of all time, he’s competing with Rafa [Nadal] and Roger [Federer].

“He’s in the best possible position, he’s the youngest of the three, he’s the one that is winning more Grand Slams every year on average.”

Djokovic has won three of the last five Slams and four of the last eight to tie Federer and Nadal on 20 Majors each, before Nadal pipped the other two to 21 with his second Australian Open title last month.

Despite being best placed to finish with the most Slams, Djokovic is adamant that his bodily autonomy comes above any title.

“He puts his belief in not getting vaccinated above this race to become the greatest, so that’s extremely powerful,” Mouratoglou continued.

“It just shows the type of person he is and I say that in a positive way.

“He has very strong beliefs, and he has the guts to stand by his beliefs, whatever the situation is.

“I would think that after what happened in Australia he would say ‘Ok, I can become the greatest of all time, I really have a big shot for that.

“‘I accept to be vaccinated, plus if I do so people will stop being against me, but he took the opposite way.

“I think that someone who stands by his beliefs, even though the immense majority of people are going against him, deserves total respect whatever your opinion on the subject is.”

Having not played yet in 2022, the 20-time Slam champion is set to take the court next at the Dubai Duty Free Championships next week, an event where he is a five-time winner.

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