Defiant Novak Djokovic claims he was made ‘the villain of the world’ during last year’s Covid vaccination saga that saw him deported from Australia: ‘Everything got out of hand’
- Novak Djokovic has claimed that the media made him ‘the villain of the world’
- Djokovic, 35, was deported from Australia last year due to his vaccine status
- However, he insists the media presented his story ‘in completely the wrong way’
Novak Djokovic has told Channel 9 of how he was cast as ‘the villain of the world’ prior to his deportation from the Australian Open last year in an emotional interview.
Djokovic, 35, complained of how he had been treated unfairly when he arrived in Melbourne 12 months ago, accusing certain sections of the media of presenting his story ‘in a completely wrong way’.
The Serbian was at the centre of a huge storm last year when he travelled to Australia unvaccinated ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.
Novak Djokovic believes he was made out to be the ‘villain of the world’ in Australia last year
All players competing at the tournament were required to be vaccinated, but Djokovic claimed an exemption on the grounds that he had recently contracted the virus.
He spent 10 hours at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport before being allowed to enter the country. However, the federal government intervened and deemed that Djokovic’s presence in the country carried a risk of stirring up anti-vaccination sentiments among the public.
Djokovic has now shared his experience of his 2022 ordeal, insisting that he was following the rules and that he was harshly treated during to the huge furore surrounding his presence in Australia.
The 35-year-old was deported from the country after a row over his vaccination status
‘There were two or three more people that came into Australia ten days before I did with exactly the same exemption that I had,’ he said.
‘I was just following the rules. My exemption was verified by an independent body and panel of doctors … and I came in with all the valid papers.
‘Everything got out of hand and then I was labelled as this or that. It was so big in the media that I just could not fight that, I didn’t even want to get into that.
‘I obviously wanted to stay here and play tennis, but at some point with the amount of craziness going around, I just wanted to get out and go back home.’
But he says that the media presented his story ‘in completely the wrong way’ in an interview
The saga lasted around two weeks, but Djokovic was eventually deported. Fellow superstar Rafael Nadal went onto win the tournament, and Djokovic says it took him some time to get over his ordeal.
‘I stayed for several weeks at home, didn’t really go around too much,’ he added. ‘I just hoped that the situation would calm down, which it did, but the traces stayed there.
‘The traces followed for several months after and I didn’t know if it was going to affect my game and the way I play. It was not easy for me mentally to regroup and restart again. In every press conference I was asked at least one or two questions about Australia and what happened. Even if I wanted to move on, people were reminding me of that.
‘ It’s still unfortunate and it hurts me that most of the people will have a wrong idea about what happened. The media has picked on me big time for several months and not in a positive note, so that has created a lot of disturbance to my brand and to me personally and people around me.’