Novak Djokovic news: Criticism of Serbian ‘was too much’ and ‘we need to show respect’ – pundit

Novak Djokovic looking on

Novak Djokovic deserves more respect from the tennis community despite the different opinions over his vaccination stance, according to Alex Correjta with the Spaniard insisting we “can’t forget that he’s someone very special for our sport”.

World No 1 Djokovic has been criticised from far and wide – both in the sporting world and the general population – over his decision not to get inoculated against Covid-19.

His stance cost him the chance to defend his Australian Open title in January as he was deported from the country over concerns that he would stoke anti-vaccination sentiment in the country.

Djokovic was hailed as hero by anti-vaccination groups and far-right organisations over his decision, but in a wide-ranging interview with the BBC he insisted that he was not anti-vax although he also admitted that he is unlikely to get vaccinated any time soon.

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The 34-year-old has come in for stick over his decision with some people insisting he should not be allowed to play if he has not been vaccinated.

However, former world No 2 Corretja feels he deserves more “respect” and hopes to see the 20-time Grand Slam winner participate in most tournaments.

“He’s been giving us so much in tennis,” he is quoted as saying by Eurosport. “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.

“If you want to get vaccinated, it’s fine. If not, I think you need to respect even if some people might feel like they shouldn’t be forced to do that.

“He’s got his own personality and his own ideas. And definitely some people will say he’s got the right to say that [that he is unvaccinated] while some others will say if he gets vaccinated, then that would be a role model saying that.

“But in a way, I don’t think he needs to think about other people, he needs to think about what he feels. And that’s why I think that’s the most important thing.”