Novak Djokovic has imposed an iron-clad veil of silence on his team as chatter heats up about the anti-vaxx Serb’s chances of playing either the US Open, the Australian Open – or both.
Last weekend’s winner of a seventh Wimbledon title is now back in Serbia trying to keep a lid on any chances he might have to somehow gain entry to the US and Australia for varying reasons.
He has also instructed his team to zip it shut about about any thoughts of retirement.
After leaving London, Djokovic immediately made for the mystical archeological site of Visoko, a Bosnian city which is home to a pyramid which Balkan faithful believe has healing and mystical powers – beliefs right up Djokovic’s spiritual street.
The world No. 7 is almost certain to be banned from entering the US, as foreigners must be double-jabbed to pass the border.
But Australia might be another subject, though the 35-year-old’s ignominious deportation last January when he tried to enter un-jabbed is likely to work against him.
In theory, deportees are banned from re-entering the country for three years – but not all of them are multi-millionaire athletes with unlimited legal resources.
“I would like to compete in all the places where possible, for that I am a tennis player,” Djokovic said.
“I do not want to get into politics. I’ve always said that I have my beliefs and I defend that each individual has the freedom to choose what they consider best for themselves.
“The only thing I would like is for people to respect that position. If they give me the exemptions it will be great.”
He added: “But if not, It won’t be the end of the world either.,”
The Serb said he has instructed his coaching and support team not to mention the “R” word, with Djokovic saying it will become evident to him when he finally does need to retire.
Overly-optimistic reports from the Balkans suggest the holder of 21 Grand Slams will want to try and notch up 30 before hanging up his racquet.
“It’s forbidden to talk about it in my team, I don’t want anyone to think about it. It will depend entirely on me,” Djokovic said of retirement talk.
“I don’t think I’m close, especially seeing myself capable of continuing to win Grand Slams.”
As for entering the US in his current unvaxxed state, Djokovic knows that is quite the lost cause.
“I am not going to go to the United States if I don’t have a totally clear exemption,” he said. “What happened this year in Melbourne was not pleasant at all, people still believe that I forced the situation, but it is not true.
“I showed in court that I had everything the documentation required to enter the country. I hope things change soon in Australia”,
While legal hurdles surely remain, Australian airline Qantas has lifted its internal requirement that all passengers be vaxxed when travelling to Australia even if national laws now do not require it.
Main photo:- Novak Djokovic attends opening of a new tennis complex in Visoko, close to the Bosnian “Pyramid of the Sun” site and it’s alleged mystic powers where he has been a regular vistor ©F.Z./N1