Former World No.1 and 21-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic has issued an indirect warning to his rival Rafael Nadal by saying that he is still hungry for more trophies and that it wasn’t easy for him to sit and watch Grand Slams without getting the opportunity to participate in recent times due to his anti-vaccination stance.
“It was not easy for me to watch Grand Slam matches without participating,” Djokovic said. “However, I had to accept such a situation. I made a decision, and these are its consequences.”
The Serb is known for his immaculate routines including ice baths and a gluten-free diet combined with physical training. “I do the usual routines that I have every day. I am eager for tennis and competition. I’m hungry for trophies. I have maintained the top level of tennis by playing in the biggest tournaments,” Djokovic added.
Novak Djokovic criticized for playing in Israel
Recently, Twitter users from across the world thronged Djokovic’s latest post where he said he was excited to compete at the Tel Aviv ATP 250 tennis tournament, questioning the tennis star’s decision to take part in Israel amidst continued violence against Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
Some people uploaded videos of violence across conflicted Israel and Palestinian territories, going on to suggest that Israel was probably using the tournament as a shield to cover their alleged crimes against humanity.
Some apparent fans of Djokovic also questioned his decision of playing in Israel. One such user wrote, “It is Palestine and it is an occupied and usurped country, don’t you know this? We are your fans and will never be with you in this tournament.”
Djokovic has had to face a big share of public controversies in the recent past. In early 2022, the 21-time Grand Slam champion was booted out of Melbourne due to Australia’s anti-vaccine laws. It resulted in a lot of worldwide debate as the Serb had initially landed in Australia claiming that he had an exemption from Tennis Australia, only to be rejected later by Australia’s Supreme Court.
During court hearings, the Serb was reportedly detained in sub-standard conditions and not allowed free passage inside the country. He was later deported from Australia.
The former World No.1 was in the default list of entrants scheduled to compete at the 2022 US Open in New York. He only withdrew a day before the draw was announced after it was made abundantly clear that anti-vaccination laws in US at the time weren’t conducive to his entry.