Novak Djokovic reacts to his media coverage in February
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Novak Djokovic could boycott Wimbledon this summer due to ‘crazy’ Boris Johnson following the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing, according to Nikola Pilic. The decision – which affects world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev – has been taken following Vladimir Putin’s continued invasion of Ukraine.
One man who has shown his opposition to the banning is six-time champion Djokovic, claiming that the invasion ‘isn’t the athletes’ fault’. Speaking at last week’s Serbian Open, he said: “Ordinary people always suffer – we’ve had lots of wars in the Balkans. That being said, I cannot support the Wimbledon decision. It’s not the athletes’ fault. When politics interfere with sport, it usually doesn’t turn out well.”
Djokovic’s grievances were also echoed by his former coach Pilic, who slammed British Prime Minister Johnson following the SW19 decision. He told Ubitennis: “Boris Johnson is crazy! Rublev and Medvedev have nothing to do with Putin, they just want to play tennis just like everyone else.”
As a result, Pilic believes Djokovic and a number of other players could well boycott this summer’s tournament, just as he and his colleagues did back in 1973 after he was alleged to have refused to compete in the Davis Cup by the Yugoslav tennis federation. He added: “Politics has gone too far into sport and I think this situation could be very similar to that of ’73.
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“In the sense, someone might say, ‘if these tennis players don’t play, we don’t play either!’ and, at that point, I’d be curious to see what Wimbledon’s reaction would be.” His former player Djokovic is also no stranger to controversy, as his refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine saw him dramatically miss out on competing at this year’s Australian Open.
Following his strong vaccine stance, ex-coach Pilic praised the world No. 1’s character adding: “Novak is a formidable player. Right now I can’t say if he’s number one, three, eleven or seventeen, but he’s definitely a special player.
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“As for the vaccine, he has a very strong character. If he wants to do something, it is difficult to move him from his position. He always said he didn’t want to get vaccinated, this is his character and his idea.
“For me, however, it is a pity, no one could have known that Covid would arrive. In any case, what happened in Australia is something I don’t want to see with any player anymore. It is not possible for a tennis player who has won the Australian Open nine times not to play.”
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