Novak Djokovic says he was ‘humiliated’ on the world stage by his deportation from Australia

Novak Djokovic has acknowledged people find his attitude toward vaccination “incomprehensible” as he continued to moan about his Aus Open nightmare.

Djokovic says he was “humiliated” on the world stage by his deportation from Australia, laying bare his true feelings after suffering a shock loss that has cost him the world No. 1 ranking.

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In an interview with the BBC, Djokovic repeated his strong stance that he will not get vaccinated against Covid and will not attend tournaments if that is a requirement of entry.

“The truth is the truth and my position is my position,” he said.

“I know that people will continue to criticise me because I decided to not get vaccinated and because I have attitude that are incomprehensible to people.

Novak Djokovic endured a nightmare of his own making in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic endured a nightmare of his own making in Melbourne.

“I respect everyone’s decision, I hope that people will respect my decision if not understand it.

“I don’t think I pose a danger to anyone. It’s my decision and I am aware of the consequences, because now not everything is in my hands.

“I don’t know if I will be able to play Indian Wells and some other tournaments.”

Djokovic was beaten by qualifier Jiri Vesely 6-4 7-6 in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Open which now means that Russia’s Australian Open runner up Daniil Medvedev will ascend to No. 1 in the world rankings.

Medvedev is the first men’s No. 1 outside of the big four – Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – since Andy Roddick in 2004.

But it wasn’t so much the defeat that was a bitter pill to swallow – even if he admitted losing still “pisses” him off – but the fact he was treated so differently in Australia and his full answer was edited out by the BBC in his exclusive first interview earlier this month.

In an interview with Serbian TV Djokovic claimed he invited by the BBC, one of his harshest critics, to Belgrade to chat for 90 minutes but only 30 minutes went to air.

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Novak Djokovic’s loss to Jiri Vesely has cost him the world number one ranking. Picture: AFP Images
Novak Djokovic’s loss to Jiri Vesely has cost him the world number one ranking. Picture: AFP Images

While he was unhappy certain elements were edited out of his interview, his greatest shame came from how he was treated in Australia.

“I was painted in a really ugly manner. I was humiliated, if I may say so, on a world stage,” he told Serbian TV.

“That is why it is important for me to have the opportunity to say something.

“I will repeat what I said to the BBC, because I don’t have more to add.

“I’ve done everything that was asked of me. There is a belief that I was privileged in a way, that I (got the exemption) because of my stature.

“I will keep saying it and repeat it like a parrot, although the BBC has cut that part of the interview: 10 days before me, a Czech tennis player and Croatian coach entered Australia with the same medical exemption.

“She played a tournament, he coached his player no problem at all.

“Suddenly I come and there is a problem. Why? You tell me.”

Djokovic revealed his memory of Australia and his treatment will linger for a long time. He was detained upon arrival, forced into accommodation with asylum seekers in a detention hotel and hounded by the media during his brief few days of freedom.

“I can’t erase from my memory what happened, it is still fresh,” he said.

Novak Djokovic during in time in detention in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images
Novak Djokovic during in time in detention in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images

“There were things that shook me that I can’t forget, let alone something like this.

“What I can do is accept it and move on. You will never see me running away from responsibility or not wanting to answer a certain question. I am not hiding anything.”

Whether Djokovic is able to play in some of the ATP tour’s biggest tournaments this year remains to be seen.

Novak Djokovic is concerned over his lack of matches. Picture: AFP Images
Novak Djokovic is concerned over his lack of matches. Picture: AFP Images

He holds the record for most weeks as world No. 1 but if he can’t get entry to the most important events of the year – including grand slams in Paris and New York – he may never regain his status as the world’s best player.

“Of course I’m still motivated and I’m still pissed off when I lose a match,” he said.

“I care about winning every match, as anybody else on the tour. I’m actually glad that I’m feeling a lot of emotions every single day because it means that I really want to be part of this sport.

“I don’t look at the age really as a restricting factor for my career. I still feel great in terms of my body and the way it’s holding on, the way it’s recovering. It’s been serving me well, so to say. That’s something that obviously encourages me to keep going.”

Originally published as Novak Djokovic says he was ‘humiliated’ on the world stage by his deportation from Australia

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