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Novak Djokovic sidesteps vaccination issue, says he "doesn't want to comment about something that is not yet complete"

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
Namit Kumar
Modified 23 Feb 2021

Novak Djokovic turned heads last summer with his stance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, expressing hesitation about compulsorily getting vaccinated to play on tour. The Serb spoke about vaccinations again following his record-extending ninth Australian Open triumph, claiming that he is not sure about the way forward since nothing is set in stone yet.

"Let's see what happens," Djokovic said. "There’s been a lot of discussion about that but nothing is yet concretely set about that or there aren’t any regulations or rules in place from ATP or from Slams."
"So I’m just going to wait and see," he added. "Right now it’s all a debate and it’s all in the air, so I don’t want to make any comment about something that is not yet complete."

Novak Djokovic's incredible triumph on Sunday was somewhat sullied during the trophy presentation, as fans in the Rod Laver Arena booed Tennis Australia chair Jayne Hrdlicka during the course of her speech when she spoke about vaccinations.

Although it is unconfirmed whether the unruly section of the crowd were his fans or not, the Serb still commented on the incident and praised Hrdlicka for staying composed.

"It was definitely not an easy situation to be in for head of TA. I empathise with her," Djokovic said. "I thought she did very well under those circumstances and conditions, it was definitely not easy to stay composed but she did. She ended her speech in a very good manner."

"People want to go back to their normal lives" - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic didn't sound too optimistic about when the pandemic will end, but acknowledged that it is human to want things to go back to normal.

"There’s a lot of mixed opinions and mixed emotions about everything that is happening in the world today. People want to go back to their normal lives, it’s normal in a way that you see and hear the frustrations," Djokovic said. "It doesn’t look like the end is near, especially in Europe in terms of sports events and having the crowd on the stands."

Novak Djokovic has divided opinion across his long and impeccable tennis career, but none more so during the COVID-19 pandemic. His hosting of the controversial Adria Tour and his public stance on vaccines have made him an enemy in the eyes of many.

But following the win in Australia, the Serb chose to focus on the positives and refused to make any controversial remarks.

"It’s highly unlikely we’ll get to experience what we experienced here in Australia. So definitely try to remember and enjoy this kind of experience because it seems like it’s going to be a unique one for quite some time," Djokovic concluded.
Published 22 Feb 2021, 23:59 IST
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