Novak Djokovic’s biographer claims the Serbian will now take his Covid-19 vaccination because he had to sit and watch Rafael Nadal win a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.
Djokovic was kicked out of Australia earlier this year before the tournament where he was defending champion began. He arrived in the country to the uproar after revealing he had a medical exemption to compete unvaccinated – which later emerged to be due to his claims he contracted the virus late last year.
He was in enforced hotel quarantine when Australia’s border force cancelled his visa and he went to court trying to overturn their decision.
But it now appears that Nadal’s victory, combined with other tournaments enforcing stricter rules regarding vaccination, could have changed his mind.
His biographer Daniel Muksch appeared on the Austrian TV channel ServusTV and said: ‘What you hear from his environment, I think he’s getting vaccinated.
‘Maybe the final in Melbourne also contributed to that. Rafael Nadal’s 21 is driving him, no question.’
Muksch’s book on Djokovic, called ‘A Lifetime At War’, comes out in March.
Nadal defeated World No 2 Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling final on Sunday, fighting back from two sets down to win the final and overtake both Djokovic and Roger Federer on 21 titles. The other two are level on 20.
Djokovic took to social media to congratulate Nadal, saying: ‘Congratulations to @RafaelNadal for 21st GS.
‘Amazing achievement. Always impressive fighting spirit that prevailed another time.
‘@Medwed33 (Medvedev’s social media handle) gave it his all out there and played with the passion and determination we have come to expect from him.’
Djokovic went to court in Australia to try and convince three judges that he should be able to compete in the tournament but failed to make his case.
Upon leaving Australia before the start of the competition, he said: ‘I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.
‘I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.
‘I am uncomfortable that the focus of the past weeks has been on me and I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love. Finally, I would like to thank my family, friends, team, supporters, fans, and my fellow Serbians for your continued support.’
Chief Justice James Allsop, Justice Anthony Besanko, and Justice David O’Callaghan unanimously decided Djokovic did not have grounds to dispute Immigration Minister Alex Hawke’s deportation order.
Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, led demonstrations against his son’s treatment back in Belgrade and said Djokovic had been ‘crucified’ in Australia.
‘He met all the required conditions for the entry and participation at the tournament that he would have certainly won since it’s Novak, the best tennis player and sportsman in the world,’ he said.
‘Jesus was crucified and endured many things but is still alive among us. Novak is also crucified… he will endure.’
But it was a move that was also hailed by the Australian PM Scott Morrison.
‘I welcome the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe,’ Mr. Morrison said in a statement. ‘Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected.
‘Over the pandemic, together we have achieved one of the lowest death rates, strongest economies, and highest vaccination rates, in the world.
‘Strong borders are fundamental to the Australian way of life as is the rule of law.’
At one stage, a judge had overturned Djokovic’s visa cancellation and the Serbian took to Twitter with a picture of him and his team practicing on the iconic Margaret Court Arena.
‘I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete,’ Djokovic wrote.
‘I remain focused on that. I flew here to play at one of the most important events we have in front of the amazing fans.
‘For now, I cannot say more but THANK YOU all for standing with me through all this and encouraging me to stay strong.’
Source: Daily Mail