'Novak Djokovic is a Menace': Players, Journalists Blast Serbian Star After His Australian Court Win
Novak Djokovic's medical exemption saga in Australia is still creating ripples around the world. Earlier, his detention had caused a massive furore with tennis players, pundits, and fans having two different views over his treatment down under.
Wimbledon quarter-finalist Marton Fucsovics and leading journalists, including The New York Times' Christopher Clarey, one of the most prominent voices in tennis, have all blasted Novak Djokovic's Australian Open vaccination exemption.
Fucsovics even went on to say that the world no. 1 had no right to participate in the Grand Slam tournament.
"People's health is paramount, and there are rules that were outlined months ago, namely that everyone should vaccinate themselves – and Djokovic didn't," Fucsovics told Hungarian publication M4Sport.
"From this point of view, I don't think he would have the right to be here," he added.
On the other hand, Clarey called Djokovic's actions "troubling."
"What is troubling is that though he submitted a document to the court confirming that positive Dec. 16 result, he, rather than isolating, took part in public events, some while unmasked and some involving children, in the days that immediately followed," Clarey wrote in a column for the widely acclaimed newspaper.
The British daily The Guardian, meanwhile, questioned the authenticity of Djokovic's coronavirus test in Serbia.
"Djokovic either knew he was infected yet still continued to spread the virus, did not know about his result for two days after his positive test, or there are questions to be asked about the test itself," The Guardian's Tumaini Carayol wrote.
Carayol claimed that Djokovic took advantage of a "loophole" in the system to gain access to a medical exemption and finally he got one.
"It seems likely that Djokovic had sought out a loophole that would allow him to compete in Australia without vaccination and, in the end, he found one," Carayol stated.
However, the most scathing remarks over Djokovic's lack of responsibility and putting the lives of his own countrymen at risk came from Martin Samuel, the chief sports writer of the British tabloid The Daily Mail.
Samuel ripped into Djokovic's behaviour before labelling him as a "menace" and a "nightmare."
"If he does not wish to be vaccinated, contracts COVID, then leaves home knowingly with a highly contagious disease and does not have the basic humanity to wear the small piece of cloth on his face that might protect others, a line has been crossed," Samuel said in his stinging criticism of the nine-time Australian Open winner.
"He stops being a freedom fighter and becomes a menace," he continued.
According to Samuel, Djokovic is now the flag-bearer and hero of anti-vaxxers, someone who challenged the government's mandate and won, providing them inspiration to fight for their beliefs and the alleged high-handedness of the authorities.
"As for Australia, he is now their worst nightmare. Djokovic is the standard-bearer for anti-vaccination, a call to arms for those who oppose the government and its perceived oppression throughout the pandemic — and his every success in Melbourne will be seen as a victory for those causes," he concluded.