Not so long ago, Novak Djokovic was sovereignly the best player on the planet. But now, ironically, despite his title, he will drop to seventh place in the world rankings because this year no points are awarded for the Wimbledon. Moreover, he may drop even lower after any further losses. In London immediately after the title, he confirmed that he will not be vaccinated against covid. And it is not certain if he will make it to the US Open this year, where he is defending last year’s final.
The story of Novak Djokovic can certainly be looked at from different perspectives. But, circumstances aside, it is clear that one of the best athletes on the planet, taking exemplary care of his health with an exemplary lifestyle and thoughtful training processes, has become a top-ten tennis player in less than a year.
Last year at the US Open he failed to take the calendar grand slam when he failed in the final duel. But while in New York he lost his record-breaking entry into history on the court itself, his other losses have been linked to decisions by the authorities.
Djokovic has long made no secret of his view that everyone should make their own decisions about their health. And he stood by it even at a time when many medical and government authorities were demanding vaccinations to fight the coronavirus.
“He fights for what he thinks is right and is able to take the consequences for it, which not everyone can do. At the Australian Open, I felt like it was more of a political issue than it was about everyone’s health. If you see his diet, lifestyle and physical activities, I would say he is one of the healthiest players on the circuit,” says Czech tennis player Jiri Lehecka, who also trained with Djokovic during this year’s Wimbledon, tells Radiožurnál.
He himself had no problem with getting vaccinated because he thought it was the right thing to do. But at the same time he respects when someone sees it differently.
“The day before he was unfortunately deported from the country, I was running next to him in the gym on the treadmill. And I didn’t feel threatened by the fact that he wasn’t vaccinated,” Lehecka adds.
Novak Djokovic has been expelled from the country by Australia after two separate trials as a man dangerous for his views. In addition, the Serbian tennis player was unable to travel to the United States for major spring tournaments due to a lack of vaccinations. And even the sovereign best tennis player of recent years began to miss matches.
“It’s his free decision not to get vaccinated, but it’s a pity because I think he was well prepared in Australia,” looks at the results slump of the long-time leader of the men’s circuit Jiri Vesely, who only narrowly defeated Djokovic this year in Dubai. And he himself does not understand why the Serbian tennis player made this decision. “He cut a little branch under himself,” he said.
A question mark over the future
After all, even Spain’s Rafael Nadal said something like this at the beginning of the year. That it is up to each person to choose his or her own path. He won the Australian Open, dominated Roland Garros and leapfrogged his Serbian rival in the number of Grand Slam trophies won. And while just last year it looked like Djokovic would continue to push his record limits, now many may be in doubt.
“He has missed out on important tournaments and even Grand Slams will be harder for him now. If he falls in the rankings, he will hit the best ones sooner. Of course, if he is in shape, he can win a few more grand slams. But the question is how many he will play,” thinks Jiri Vesely, one of the few tennis players who has a positive record with Novak Djokovic.