Twitter users from across the world thronged Novak 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.
Djokovic is scheduled to play both singles and doubles in Tel Aviv this week as he plots his return to form after missing the US Open this year due to a conflict with the country’s anti-vaccination laws for entry.
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.”
Some also took a humorous dig at the situation. A user said that Djokovic now needed a new public relations representative to handle the mess.
Controversy no stranger for Novak Djokovic
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.
As for tennis, Djokovic’s current form is also a matter of concern. He had won the first singles and doubles match at the recently concluded Laver Cup for Team Europe. However, on the second day of outing, the Serb lost in straight sets to Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime, which ultimately led to Team Europe losing the Laver Cup to Team World for the first time in the tournament’s history.
Now, at the Tel Aviv Open, Djokovic is expected to win the singles title easily. He is also scheduled to compete in doubles alongside 45-year-old Israeli veteran Jonathan Erlich, who will retire after this tournament.
Interestingly, Djokovic had won a title partnering Erlich back at Queen’s in 2010, which is the only ATP doubles title he has won to date. He even posted a video message saying he was looking forward to the doubles competition and Erlich’s “last dance.”
Novak Djokovic says he is not thinking of retirement
The Serbian superstar recently also said that bigger tournaments such as the Grand Slams were his main focus now and therefore, he could prolong his earlier retirement plans as long his body was listening to him.
“I’m not playing as much as I played a few years ago. I want to peak at the best tournaments, biggest tournaments in the world, which are Grand Slams and some of the biggest ATP events, playing for my country,” Djokovic had said in an on-court interview during Laver Cup competition in London.