Novak Djokovic news: Top coach says vaccine stand highlights his authenticity

Novak Djokovic press conference

Leading coach Patrick Mouratoglou has suggested Novak Djokovic displayed ‘authenticity’ by refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Djokovic was deported from Australia due to his unvaccinated status in January, as he was denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title amid a huge media storm.

The Serbian has subsequently lost his world No 1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev and will not be allowed to play in this month’s ATP 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami, as only vaccinated visitors are allowed to enter America.

Yet¬†Mouratoglou, who is the coach to 23-time Grand Slam-winning legend Serena Williams and world No 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, has insisted Djokovic’s stance should be applauded.

While he did not suggest he supported the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s refusal to be vaccinated, he argued the easier option may have been to fake a vaccination and continue with his career.

“One of the main criticisms of Novak is that he is not authentic, but I believe the opposite”¬†Mouratoglou started in a LinkedIn post.

“I believe he is extremely authentic and I give you an example. He is the only player at the top of the game who refuses to have his image on a video game because he does not believe it is good for children. So he doesn’t take the cheque.

“This last position about coronavirus… it would have been really easy for someone like Novak to have a doctor to sign the papers and say he is vaccinated even though he is not, with no-one knowing about it.

“That would allow him to play every tournament, do whatever he wants and be in a position to become the greatest of all time.

“He said no, I’m not going to cheat or lie by getting a doctor to sign papers. I am going to be true to myself. I believe it is bad for me to vaccinated, whether you like it or not. I’m going to say this to the world.

Patrick Mouratoglou
Patrick Mouratoglou

If I’m not the GOAT, I will regret it, but this is a message of someone who is true to his values and authentic. People will realise he is a much more authentic guy now.

“He might have made some mistakes in communication that suggested he was not authentic, but I look at what people do and not what they say. It shows he is authentic.

“This is why I think this decision could be a game-changer for Novak. It shows who he really is.”

Djokovic has been given a boost in his hopes of playing at the French Open in May, after French authorities confirmed they are loosening Covid-19 restrictions later this month.