To say that Novak Djokovic’s Wimbledon final win on Sunday was a fitting culmination of a frustrating six months of tennis for the Serbian is an understatement.
In January, Djokovic was deported from Australia after he tried to be in the country without a vaccine. While he helped expose just how overreaching and tyrannical the Australian government’s protocols were, he was nonetheless prevented from playing in the Australian Open, the first of tennis’ four major tournaments.
But after losing in the quarterfinals of the French Open to Spaniard Rafael Nadal - who criticized the Serbian and his decision - Djokovic pulled off a four-set win in SW19 over Nick Kyrgios (an Australian, ironically) to capture his 21st Grand Slam title, putting him one behind Nadal for most all-time.
However, Ben Rothenburg, editor of Racquet Magazine, doesn’t see this victory as a good thing.
Rothenburger took time out of his regularly scheduled activities to frame Djokovic as an “anti-vax posterboy” on Twitter, even though that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Unless there is a swift change in US immigration law, #Wimbledon will be Djokovic’s last Grand Slam event of the year.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) July 10, 2022
US requires vaccination for foreigners to enter, and Djokovic has firmly said he has ruled out getting vaccinated, entrenching himself as an anti-vax posterboy. https://t.co/STCVNUI3oL
Djokovic said in an interview with BBC in February his decision to remain unvaccinated was not because he is firmly against vaccines, but rather he is principally opposed to governments forcing individuals to do something that they don’t want to do.
"I was never against vaccination, but I've always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body,” Djokovic said, who also told BBC that he had received vaccines as a child.
So that proves that Rothenburg mischaracterized the tennis star. But to make matters worse for the editor, Djokovic’s wife, Jelena, was quick to rush to her husband’s defense and served Rothenburg an earful.
Jelena exposed Rothenburg’s fraudulent take, which sparked a long-winded Twitter volley between the two and ended with Rothenburg saying that he stands by his poor take.
Excuse me. Just making sure that it is noted that YOU tagged him as antivax poster boy for whatever reason you have. He simply responded what HIS body choice is.— Jelena Djokovic (@jelenadjokovic) July 10, 2022
Novak is not planning on playing in the U.S. Open because of his vaccination status, but he doesn’t need to. He’s already proven he’s won of the greatest men’s tennis players of all time, and a man of strong convictions. Anything else he accomplishes in his career is simply an addition to an already glittering legacy.
SJW Megan Rapinoe won the highest medal, The President Medal of Freedom pic.twitter.com/aAjMHvIR3M— MRCTV (@mrctv) July 11, 2022