Goran Ivanisevic slams claims Novak Djokovic is anti-vax leader – ‘We were terrorised and put on wall of shame’

Novak Djokovic and Goran Ivanisevic at training

Goran Ivanisevic has criticised suggestions that Novak Djokovic is the leader of the anti-vax movement while he has also hit out at the ATP’s “crazy” decision to strip Wimbledon of ranking points.

Djokovic looks is to miss the US Open due to his unvaccinated status after the United States Tennis Association confirmed they will follow the directive from the government which states that foreigners who are not inoculated against COVID-19 are not allowed to enter the country.

It will be the second Grand Slam that the Serbian will miss this year as he was also unable to defend his Australian Open crown at the start of the year after he was deported on the back of the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s decision to revoke his visa for a second time due to fears that he would stoke anti-vax sentiments.

Djokovic had initially hoped the US government would change their stance, but in an interview with Slobodna Dalmacija, the 21-time Grand Slam winner’s coach joked that he has more chance of winning this year’s Croatia Open than the Serbian playing in New York.

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“I don’t know about the US Open, it’s difficult,” Ivanisevic. “I am more optimistic that I will win Umag than that they will let him to the US Open.

“They don’t ask for vaccination there, but as a country they are closed to the unvaccinated, for now he can’t enter the country.”

Many labelled Djokovic as the poster boy for the anti-vax movement due to his decision not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Ivanisevic, though, hit back at those suggestions, revealing they have been “terrorised” for the past two years.

“I respect and appreciate him, he made a decision that he will not change,” he said. “When they proclaim him to be a leader, to have a bad influence on people, that is wrong.

“He doesn’t want to get vaccinated, he doesn’t want to introduce it into his body, and he never told others not to get vaccinated. I respect and support his decision.

“I hope these decisions are reversed, people infected in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and nothing to anyone. There are so many contradictions, I was vaccinated, it’s not a problem for me, but… For two and a half years they terrorise us, when you’re infected it’s like you have scabies, they throw you and the team out. We were on the wall of shame…”

Djokovic, though, was allowed to defend his Roland Garros and Wimbledon titles, exiting the French Open in the quarter-final before winning a seventh title at SW19 a fortnight ago.

However, the 35-year-old ended up dropping to No 7 in the ATP Rankings despite his win as the ATP and WTA opted to strip Wimbledon of ranking points following the All England Tennis Club’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament on the back of Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

“The year started disastrously, very bad, difficult,” Ivanisevic said. “And ATP’s decision to remove points at Wimbledon is, in my opinion, totally insane and wrong.

“But at the end of the day, it’s important for him to win, he needed it, he showed that he is arguably the best player on grass. He really needed it, when you need to win something, when it’s the hardest, he showed that that’s when he plays the best tennis.”