This year, Novak Djokovic made headlines for reasons other than his triumphs on the tennis court. The Serbian phenomenon paid a very heavy price for his decision not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as he failed to defend the Australian Open title.
In addition to severe image damage, the former ATP number 1 had to watch helplessly Rafael Nadal’s victory in Melbourne Park. For the same reason, the 35-year-old from Belgrade had to give up the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami in the spring.
After the disappointment at Roland Garros, Nole reignited his season by winning Wimbledon for the seventh time in his career. The ‘Djoker’ suited Pete Sampras and narrowed the gap separating him from Nadal in the all-time majors rankings.
Goran Ivanisevic’s protégé has been forced to withdraw from the Canadian Open after being denied entry to the country due to his unvaccinated status. His hope is to get a special visa that will allow him to play the US Open.
As a guest on the latest edition of the “3iguales” podcast, Francisco Cerundolo broke a lance in favor of Djokovic. The 21-time Grand Slam champion has admitted he will wait for an exemption to compete in the US Open.
However, he will not change his vaccination stance to compete in the tournaments.
Cerundolo praises Nole Djokovic
“I don’t see Novak Djokovic as a villain. But on the contrary. What happens is that people are very much in love [Roger] Federer and [Rafael] Nadal.
Novak says what he feels, it’s authentic,” said Cerundolo. Djokovic is fighting for the most Grand Slam titles in men’s singles with Federer and Nadal, and Cerundolo believes the 21-time Major winner will end up surpassing both.
“Certainly Novak will pass both of the Grand Slams won. Djokovic is the one who moves the most to help the players who earn the least. To those who play Futures or Challenger,” Cerundolo said. Djokovic, who lost to Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 US Open final, has 1200 ranking points to defend at this year’s tournament.
If he misses playing in New York, he faces a major blow to his ATP rankings. Earlier this week, the former world No. 1 withdrew from the National Bank Open in Montreal after being denied entry to Canada due to her vaccination status. The tournament is an ATP 1000 event that will start next week.