Novak Djokovic news: Former world No 2 on how saga will affect Serbian’s legacy and his future on Tour
Novak Djokovic is “probably the greatest of all time”, but Alex Corretja admits “there are some other issues in his career that people will remember”, including his anti-vaccination stance that has led to his Australian visa being revoked.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner won’t defend his Australian Open title following a controversial couple of weeks in Melbourne, which started when he announced that he received an exemption to compete in the tournament.
His visa was revoked upon arrival only for a judge to quash the decision by the Australian Border Force following an appeal from the world No 1.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s then cancelled his visa for a second time “on health and good order grounds” with concerns that his presence would encourage people to emulate his anti-vaccination position with the decision upheld on Sunday.
When asked in an exclusive interview by Tennis365 if this saga will be remembered for a long time, Correjta replied: “It will be (a part of history), it will remain forever. Because in my opinion it’s not just about the tennis issue, it’s a human situation. You can either be in favour or not in favour, I am vaccinated.
“We sort of created this situation of if you are vaccinated you are in one place, and if you are not vaccinated you are the opposite, or you are the enemy, you are the opponent. I am fully vaccinated, and I am in favour, so I defend this situation, I do respect whoever is not.
“I think Novak in this case he will be remembered because he’s been a champion, he is a champion, he’s probably the greatest of all time. But of course, there are some other issues in his career that people will remember, it doesn’t need to be for good or bad, it’s just part of his history.”
Djokovic confirmed in court documents that he is not vaccinated against Covid-19 and, with many tournaments expected to adopt a no vaccination, no play policy; it could leave the 34-year-old’s future in the balance.
“It’s up to him, it’s his choice, his call,” the Spaniard said. “I live in a country, and I live in a place in Spain where we need to show the Covid passport if you want to get into the restaurants, and I accepted that and I did get vaccinated because I feel it’s better for me and for the people next to me and I know that this is what’s going on.
“Whoever is not vaccinated and when they ask them for their Covid passport and they don’t have it, well they know the consequences. So, he will need to make a decision whether he wants to or not, it will be his choice and if he goes to places where they ask for this (to be vaccinated) and he doesn’t have it then he will have to decide whether he wants it or not.
“I think he’s got his views of life and he defends them and that’s pretty much what happened with him. You can be someone who accepts some situations, or you fight for your rights and what you believe is right, and I think that’s what he’s doing. At the end, he’s showing personality and you can be with him or let’s say maybe you don’t understand why he does it, but it’s the way he is, and I think you need to respect that.”
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