Novak Djokovic was crucified by the media and deported by the Australian government after not providing “sufficient enough information” to receive a vaccine exemption so he could participate in the Australian Open. His determination to resist medical tyranny, despite all of the hardships he’s had to go through because his position has never wavered.
Djokovic stated to the BBC that the freedom to decide what goes in his body is more important than trophies. He currently sits tied for second all-time in the men’s division with Roger Federer for most Grand Slam titles won with 20, just one behind his contemporary Rafael Nadal (who won the Australian Open Djokovic was forbidden from playing in). But if he is forced to get the vaccine to statistically become the greatest men’s player ever, Djokovic will not pursue that illustrious achievement.
“Yes, that is the price I am willing to pay,” Djokovic said. “The principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. My body is my most important organ.
“I was never against vaccination,” (he’d had vaccines as a child), “but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.”
Although it may seem absurd, a celebrity who gives up some material gains to follow his convictions might not be a bad thing. In America, many people have lost their jobs as they won’t be vaccinated. In Australia, thousands more can only leave the country if they aren’t jabbed. Djokovic’s status as an elite athlete is assured, having won enough prizes to keep him afloat for the rest of his life.
It still offers hope for a world in desperate need of it.
Most celebrities are willing to compromise any convictions in order to accept the current political and social climate, as long as their livelihood is not affected. But Djokovic’s rigid determination is a reminder that there are still people who value freedom and their beliefs over material gain and who understand that life is more than money, trophies, and fame if you have to compromise who you are to get there.
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Plus, Djokovic may have to forgo the highly achievable goal of retiring with the most Grand Slam titles in the men’s category. He is in the twilight of his career, and with Nadal increasing the distance between the two with each grand Slam win, Djokovic’s chances of making ground in the title chase wane with each passing tournament. This is a difficult task for a man obsessed by greatness, who enjoys the excitement of competition as much as any of his peers.
Djokovic has said that he would be open to the possibility of getting vaccinated in the future, but he will do it on his own terms and in his own time – something we should all be allowed to do.