10 things to know about Novak Djokovic, tennis champion … and the unvaccinated

1. Visa

A troubled start to the year for Novak Djokovic. On January 4, the tennis champion announced that he would benefit from a vaccination exemption in order to be able to reach Australia, on the grounds of a Covid-19 infection in December 2021. Problem: as soon as he landed, his visa was canceled. And he was placed in detention for five days in a quarantine hotel for migrants. If a judge ordered his release on Monday, January 10, the Australian government can still impose his deportation, prohibiting him in passing from entering the territory for three years.

Vaccine exemption, visa error, threat of deportation: Novak Djokovic’s crazy week in Australia

2. Vaccine

“Personally, I am not for vaccines. I would not like someone to force me to be vaccinated to travel ”, he declared in April 2020. Two months later, in the midst of a pandemic, he organized the Adria Tour, a charity tournament in the Balkans, after which he and three other players will test positive for Covid-19. Refusing to reveal his vaccination schedule, the Serbian denounced in the fall of 2021 the guilt of the unvaccinated: “I won’t tell you if I have been vaccinated or not. This is a private matter. “ The Australian government is affirmative: “Not vaccinated. “

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3. “Spartacus”

In this incredible affair, Djokovic is described by his mother as ” prisoner “, while his father sets him up as a “Spartacus”, the “Leader of the oppressed peoples”. Born in Belgrade in 1987, he was 12 when NATO bombed Serbia. He then joined a tennis academy in Germany. Hostile to the independence of Kosovo, the Serb assumes his support for the nationalists.

4. Awards

Twenty: this is the number of Grand Slam titles he has won. A record that he shares with his two rivals, the Swiss Roger Federer and the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. And that he could hold alone, if he played and won the Australian Open, from January 17 to 30. Since 2008, this two-handed backhand right-hander has won nine times in Melbourne, six Wimbledon (London), three US Open (New York) and two Roland Garros. He alone has achieved the feat of finishing seven seasons in first place in the world rankings.

5. Gluten free

His gluten-free and plant-based diet is said to be the secret of his success. He said he hoped “Inspire other athletes. We can eat well and recover well, have strength, muscles. I have an optimal balance between strength, power and speed… Nothing seems to be missing ”. Committed to animal suffering, he had also opened in April 2016, in the wake of his restaurant parents, a vegan establishment, Eqvita, in Monaco where he lives, since closed. On the menu: eggplant polenta and vitelotte gnocchi. For 18 euros, you could also enjoy a risotto with wild mushrooms.

6. Esotericism

Well-being guru and follower of pseudoscience, the sportsman believes that “The molecules present in water react to our emotions”. In May 2020, during a live on Instagram, he claimed to have “Seen by people, by energetic transformations, by the power of prayer and thanksgiving, transforming the most toxic food or the most polluted water into the most healing water”.

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7. Religion

The multimillionaire devotes part of his fortune to renovating the heritage of the former Yugoslavia. When the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church presented him with the Royal Order of Saint Sava in 2011 to reward his donations, he explained: “It’s the most important title of my life, because before being athletic, I was an Orthodox Christian. “

8. Roland-Garros

Winner twice in Paris (2016 and 2021), the recent winner of the “Champion of world champions” trophy from the newspaper “l’Equipe” cultivates his love for the French public. Before the pandemic, he celebrated his victories by reaching out to spectators and miming offering his heart to them. With each edition, his mastery of the language of Molière improves.

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9. Humor

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Early in his career, in the locker room and on the court, Djokovic indulged in comical imitations of his peers. Wearing a blonde wig, he parodied the Russian player Maria Sharapova. His nickname “Djoker” is inspired by the villainous prankster in “Batman”. In 2010, he appeared in the music video for the song “Hello” alongside Martin Solveig and Bob Sinclar, then in several Peugeot commercials.

10. Unloved

Despite his efforts, Djokovic does not enjoy as much popularity as Federer and Nadal. His detractors accuse him of exaggerating his injuries and abusing medical interruptions in matches. Impulsive, he sometimes smashes his racket on the ground, under the boos of the public. Even unintentionally sending a bullet in the face of a linesman, which earned her a disqualification at the US Open 2020.

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