Novak Djokovic returns to speak after the painful defeat suffered at the US Open. After training at home, he was interviewed by the media Flash, informing about his conditions and his next program. He said he was sure to return for the Bercy 1000, Turin ATP Finals and Davis Cup, while he still has no certainty for the Australian Open, given the restrictions for the unvaccinated and his well-known no-vax position. Here are some excerpts from the thought of the world’s No. 1, interviewed after a training session with Olga Danilovic.
“I started training today. It had been a long time since I had picked up a racket. Yes, I trained my body, but today was the first time back on the pitch ”. As if Novak needed to disconnect, totally, after the run-up to the Grand Slam, blocked at the last step, three sets from the legendary feat.
Here is the program for the rest of the 2021 season: “I plan to play in Paris, the ATP Finals in Turin and the Davis Cup. I will stay here all week, in Belgrade, and the week before Paris I will leave Serbia to devote myself more to training. Stefan’s birthday is in a few days and we will be here, celebrating it with the family. I spent most of my time here in Belgrade. I am involved in the development of the Tennis Center and my future Academy. This project gives me a lot of satisfaction. My desire is to pass on the story of my life and career to the little ones ”.
The longest chapter is the one relating to the delicate Australian Open issue. Recall that the state of Victoria since last October 15 has established that only vaccinated athletes can compete in professional tournaments and championships. A huge obstacle for any person who refuses the anti-covid vaccine. Here is Djokovic’s thought: “I am following what is happening in Australia and I think a final decision will be made in two or three weeks. I don’t think conditions change much from what we already know. There will be many restrictions. They are trying to improve conditions this year. The problem is that you are flying with a positive person, vaccinated or not, and you have to go through a 14-day quarantine in your room. It happened to 70 players this year. I would like all the players to come together more and be involved in the decision making process. It seems to me that nothing is asked of us. The truth is, I don’t know if I will play the Australian Open. The situation is not good at all ”.
Novak continues: “This year in Australia was not a good experience. Spending so much time in the room and then having to play best of five sets … If these decisions are kept, I think a lot of players will be wondering if they will go or not, if it is worth going … I have not yet decided if I will play in Melbourne. There is a lot of speculation. The media speculate a lot. There is a lot of division in society, between who has been vaccinated and who has not. This, to me, is terrifying. Whether someone is judged if they want to understand and decide whether to get vaccinated or not… makes me feel disappointed in society. I will not reveal if I am vaccinated or not. It is a private matter. Whatever you say, the media will spread fear among the people. I don’t want to participate in this war. I want to go to Australia, but I don’t know if I will. At the moment I can only say this ”.
Important words are those of Djokovic, in which he confirms his disappointment with the general situation, the willingness to understand how to move before making a final decision, but given the firmness shown “down Under” since the beginning of the pandemic, it seems difficult that it can be offered a sort of “safe conduct” to anyone wishing to play the Australian Open while not vaccinated.