Novak Djokovic calls out critics over brutal vaccine saga treatment

Novak Djokovic has opened up about his chances of playing in next year’s Australian Open while also calling out his critics over how he was treated in 2022 due to his vaccination saga.

Djokovic was infamously deported at the start of the year and missed the Australian Open due to his vaccination status.

He was detained at Melbourne airport by Border Force officials and later had his visa cancelled by then-Immigration Minister Alex Hawke due to his ability to “excite anti-vax sentiment” in Australia.

The cancellation of Djokovic’s visa comes with an automatic three-year ban from entering the country.

Since the ban, Djokovic admitted he wouldn’t get vaccinated in order to play tennis.

This has seen him miss a number of tennis tournaments in 2022, which also included the US Open.

Djokovic undoubtedly became one of the most talked about sport stars in the world after his controversial stance to the vaccine.

And Djokovic has now lamented some of the criticism he received during a tough 2022 after looking back at the ‘peculiar’ year.

“After all, I have never offended anyone or ever tried to be disrespectful in any way. I always tried to show that it is important for everyone to have the right and freedom of choice,” Djokovic told Sportal.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) smiles as he celebrates with the Wimbledon trophy.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) only played two grand slams in 2022 due to his vaccination status, but managed to win Wimbledon. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

“For the choices I made, I knew there would be certain consequences like not going to America, and that is it. For Australia it was a different case, I had the exception, but in the end it did not work out. We know what happened, let’s not go back.”

The World No.3 said he discovered that a lot of people treated him differently after the saga and that it was an eye-opening experience.

“Many masks have fallen, so to say – throughout this process, it was interesting for me to observe the way some people behaved towards me this year. I keep going, motivated and inspired,” he added.

Novak Djokovic’s update on Australian Open return

Since his ban from entering Australia, Djokovic has hoped a change in government and public sentiment might offer him a good chance to return.

After all Djokovic has won more Australian Open titles than any male in history.

The widely-held belief is that government officials won’t uphold the three-year ban and allow Djokovic back into Australia this summer.

Most recently, immigration lawyer Kon-ming Tsai said that in his opinion, it would “be in Australia’s best interests” to allow Djokovic back into the country.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) poses with the trophy after the Tel Aviv Open.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) is set to take part in both the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals in Turin to finish the 2022 season. (Photo by Nir Keidar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

And Djokovic has also admitted that he is hoping to get an answer from Australian officials in the next few weeks.

“When it comes to Australia, there are some positive signs, but unofficially,” he added.

“We are communicating through my lawyers in Australia.”

Djokovic confirmed on Monday that he would be taking part in the Paris Masters, starting on October 31.

He will then join Rafa Nadal in Turin for the ATP Finals to finish of the 2022 season.

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