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Djokovic the Greatest Tennis Player All Time, Djokovic is also a Role Model of Freedom & Courage

Djokovic Says He's Not Anti-Vaccine, But 'Pro-Freedom to Choose'

Mr. Djokovic faced negative press after he refused to be vaccinated to play in the Australian Open.

December 11, 2023: World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has said that he is not against vaccination but only wants the right to opt out.

In early 2022, Mr. Djokovic became embroiled in controversy over the COVID-19 vaccine. At the time, he had received a vaccine exemption to play in the Australian Open. However, following a public outcry, the tennis player was deported and couldn’t take part in the competition.

“People tried to, you know, declare me as an anti-vax. I'm not anti-vax. Nor I am pro-vax. I'm pro-freedom to choose,” Mr. Djokovic said in a Dec. 10 interview with "60 Minutes."

When asked how the controversy in Australia affected him, he replied that he was “basically declared as a villain of the world.”

“Most of the world [was] against me. I had that kind of experience on the tennis court with crowds that were not maybe cheering me on. But I never had this particular experience before in my life.”

Mr. Djokovic dismissed the suggestion that he misread the Australian culture which felt strongly about vaccination at the time. “The point is that it was not up to me to read anybody. I got the exemption. I got permission to come into the country. And so, of course, it escalated to the highest of the highest levels globally.”

Mr. Djokovic’s stance on vaccination has earned him considerable praise online. “One of the few athletes with a backbone,” Collin Rugg, co-owner of Trending Politics outlet, said in a Dec. 10 X post.

“The left is UP IN ARMS over tennis champion Novak Djokovic position on the vaccine. ‘I'm not anti-vax. Nor I am pro-vax. I'm pro-freedom to choose.’ What's wrong with this?!?!” comedian Chad Prather said in an X post.

“Important reminder that Djokovic has NEVER said he was against vaccines. He even confirmed that he had all the vaccines as a child but when it came to the brand new Covid vaccine he was an advocate of freedom of choice and that everyone should be free to make their own decisions,” Pavvy G, a tennis blogger, said in a Dec. 9 post on X.

In January 2022, Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke revoked Mr. Djokovic’s visa owing to concerns that since he was a “high-profile unvaccinated individual,” it could result in other unvaccinated Australians “refusing to get the jab, anti-vaxxers having their views reinforced, and a reduction in the uptake of booster doses.”

Banning Djokovic

Following the ban imposed by the Australian government, Mr. Djokovic’s lawyers argued there was no proof his presence was a risk to public health and that canceling his visa would actually foster anti-vaccination sentiment.

They also argued that the minister failed to provide concrete proof that Mr. Djokovic maintained an “anti-vaccination” stance.

However, the court ruled in favor of the minister. “It was plainly open to the minister to infer that Mr. Djokovic had chosen not to be vaccinated because he was opposed to vaccination or did not wish to be vaccinated,” the judges wrote in their decision.

“Even if Mr. Djokovic did not win the Australian Open, the capacity of his presence in Australia playing tennis to encourage those who would emulate or wish to be like him is a rational foundation for the view that he might foster anti-vaccination sentiment.”

At the time, Greg Barns S.C., spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, called Mr. Djokovic’s visa ban “troubling” in a society that is “supposedly committed to freedom of speech and freedom of thought.”

The visa ban was instituted for three years. However, by the fourth quarter of 2022, the Australian government overturned the ban, allowing Mr. Djokovic to play in the 2023 Australian Open.

Mr. Djokovic also couldn’t play the U.S. Open in 2022 as he was not allowed to fly into the United States as an unvaccinated foreign citizen. He took part in the U.S. Open held in August this year.

Vaccinating Athletes

Mr. Djokovic’s stance against COVID-19 vaccination came at a time when many athletes were forced into taking the shots.

A peer-reviewed letter from December last year authored by cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough and structural biologist Panagis Polykretis showed that at least 1,616 cardiac arrests or other major medical issues were documented globally in vaccinated athletes between 2021 and 2022.

Out of these 1,616 cases, 1,114 were fatal. American athletes made up 279 of the fatalities.

An estimated 100 to 150 athletes die in America every year from sudden cardiac death. However, data cited in the letter showed over 190 U.S. deaths from cardiac arrests and other factors in 2022 alone.

Mr. Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated also put him on Moderna’s “vaccine misinformation” watch list, according to a recent exclusive report by investigative journalists Lee Fang and Jack Poulson.

Moderna’s misinformation reports called news surrounding the tennis player “high risk.” Mr. Djokovic had already acquired natural immunity when he refused to get vaccinated back in 2022. This year when he took part in the Moderna-sponsored U.S. Open, the tennis star won the competition.

The pharma company claimed that unvaccinated people were celebrating his win, with social media users “mockingly” pointing out that Moderna was the sponsor of the competition. The firm said that the “optics of Djokovic” bolster “anti-vaccine claims that vaccines—and mandates—are unnecessary.”

Source: Epoch Health


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