Novak Djokovic news: Serbian’s stance against vaccines terrible for tennis – former world No 3
Novak Djokovic’s refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19 is “terrible for tennis”, according to former world No 3 Pam Shriver.
Djokovic missed the Australian Open and is also willing to not play in upcoming majors such as Roland Garros and Wimbledon if it means that he does not have to get jabbed.
Shriver expressed her hope that a leading medical practitioner, ideally from Djokovic’s native Serbia can convince him to change his stance on vaccines.
“I hope that the right trusted person, who is an expert in science and medicine, probably would have to be a Serbian, can sit him down and show him, and walk him through all of the steps that make the science and the medicine trustworthy and safe to put in his body,” she told the BBC.
Shriver believes that Djokovic’s stance on the vaccine has a wide negative effect on others as he is a global figure.
“Because it’s terrible for tennis, not good for him – and, really, he does lead by example. The fact that he doesn’t trust it, it does lead a lot of people, in his home country and throughout the world,” said the 59-year-old.
As things stand, Djokovic is likely to miss tournaments in the United States including Indian Wells, the Miami Open and the US Open. Doubt also surrounds whether he will compete in Roland Garros due to take place in May.
This means that he will be likely extending the wait to add to his 20 Grand Slam titles.
He watched one of his main rivals Rafael Nadal win his 21st Grand Slam by claiming the Australian Open and he could fall further behind the Spaniard if he misses the French Open.
“It’s hard to believe in some ways and one of the most difficult things that tennis history could be rewritten because of the pandemic and the No 1 athlete refusing to be vaccinated and making travel to many countries not possible,” added Shriver, a 22-times Grand Slam doubles champion.
Djokovic has not totally ruled out the possibility of getting vaccinated in future, but he has expressed his hope that travel requirements ease.
“One of the things Novak makes clear is he says ‘right now’, so later on when the pandemic is lessened and there is a finish line, he will be able to travel more freely,” added Shriver.
“If nobody can prove to him it’s safe to put in his body I guess that’s what he is going to wait for and then play the few tournaments he can play and enter as an unvaccinated athlete.”
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