Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open
Novak Djokovic has hit out at the BBC’s coverage of him refusing the Covid vaccine and being denied entry to the Australian and US Opens. The 22-time Grand Slam champion was detained by the Australian Border Force in late 2021 and held for over a week before being deported.
Djokovic then gave an interview to the Beeb where he stated that he would rather miss out on future Majors than be forced to get vaccinated, though recently claimed that the broadcaster “eliminated many sentences” from their chat as he slammed their coverage of the situation.
Speaking to Italian outlet Corriere della Sera during the Italian Open, Djokovic reflected: “I suffered everything on my skin. Many people have appreciated that I have remained consistent. 95 per cent of what has been written and said on TV about me in the last three years is totally false.”
The 35-year-old was specifically asked about his nickname ‘Novax’ to which he reiterated that he is not against vaccinations. “I am not no-vax and I have never said in my life that I am,” he added.
“I’m not even pro-vax. I am pro-choice: I defend freedom of choice. It is a fundamental human right to be free to decide what things to inject into one’s body and what not. I explained it once to the BBC, on my return from Australia, but they eliminated many sentences, the ones that weren’t convenient. So I never spoke of this story again.”
He further detailed the experience of being held in Australia alongside a young Syrian who he hopes to reconnect with at this year’s US Open – which he is now permitted to attend. “A prison,” Djokovic recalled. “I couldn’t open the window.
“I stayed less than a week, but I found young people, war refugees, who had been there for a very long time. My case has served to shed light on them, almost all of them have been freed, and this consoles me. A young Syrian had been there for nine years.
“Now he’s in America, when I go back this summer I want to find him again and invite him to see me at the US Open; I also feel connected with him. The Australian judge accepted my appeal; but the Minister of Immigration, who has the power to deport whoever he wants without reasons, expelled me.
“But I didn’t break the rules. I entered Australia with the necessary and correct documents, as recognized by the magistrate of the first trial.”
Djokovic believes that a “false label” was put on him as he continued to slate the coverage given to him. “I had had Covid and I was cured,” he said of his time before entering Australia in 2021.
“I complied with all the rules and did not endanger anyone. Yet once there I became a political case, one that endangered the world. The system, of which the media are a part, required a target that was opposed to the mainstream; and I have become.
“They put the no-vax label on me, a completely false thing, which still gives me a stomach ache. Then it turned out that the pandemic situation was very different from how it was presented. Now the World Health Organization has written that the virus is no longer so serious, that it is part of all the viruses we have.”