Novak Djokovic hugs Boris Becker at the 2016 French Open
Boris Becker recently penned an article for the Daily Mail, in which he urged his former charge, Novak Djokovic, to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Becker believes Djokovic is making a “big mistake” by steering clear of the jab, one that he believes the Serb will regret in the years to come.
Djokovic all but confirmed that he has been vaccinated after he announced he had received a medical exemption to take part in the 2022 Australian Open.
The exemption, however, has not done any favors for the Serb since he has not been given the green light by the Australian Border Force and the Federal Government. As things stand, Djokovic has been housed in a hotel meant for detainees after his visa was canceled.
His legal team secured an interim injunction that prevents the Serb from being deported ahead of a trial scheduled for 10 a.m. on Monday.
Djokovic has previously spoken out against the COVID-19 vaccine but has repeatedly stressed that he is not an ‘anti-vaxxer’ as some believe him to be.
However, Boris Becker firmly believes that his former ward is making a grave mistake by refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The German pointed out that Djokovic’s bid to become the greatest of all time could take a hit if he continues to remain unvaccinated.
Several nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia, and France, have adopted strict policies that do not grant any privileges to unvaccinated individuals. As such, Djokovic could find himself missing out on several big tournaments should he continue to remain unvaccinated.
“As his former coach I am so close to Novak Djokovic that I would almost regard him as family — but like in all families you sometimes have disagreements,” Boris Becker wrote for The Daily Mail. “And on this occasion I think he is making a big mistake in not getting vaccinated. It is one that threatens what remains of his career and his chance to cement himself as the greatest player of all time.”
Novak Djokovic was detained for close to nine hours at Melbourne Airport on Wednesday. Boris Becker revealed that he was in touch with Djokovic’s current coach Goran Ivanisevic during this period.
“When he arrived at Melbourne Airport I was exchanging messages with Goran Ivanisevic, the coach who is accompanying him,” Becker added. “Goran was in a separate room, cut off from Novak because he and the rest of the team had been cleared to enter Australia.”
The German admitted that he could not get in touch with Djokovic but, through his article, sent a message to the World No. 1, urging him to get the jab.
“I did not have the chance to speak to Novak but I would urge him to get vaccinated — although whether he would listen is another matter,” Becker continued. “I also accept that as someone in my fifties I look at my health in a different way from those in their twenties and thirties who feel more invincible.”
The 54-year-old revealed that his children, too, were against the idea of getting vaccinated against the dreaded virus, but he succeeded in convincing them to take the jab.
Becker hopes he can have the same influence on Djokovic, who he feels will regret his stubbornness 10 years down the line.
“I have had conversations with my own children who are in that bracket, eventually persuading them to have the jab,” Boris Becker added. “Will Novak take that step? I am not sure that he will. He is incredibly strong-willed, with very firm beliefs. If he does not, then in 10 years he will look back on it and realise he made a mistake.”
“Novak Djokovic is going to find it very hard to live the life of a professional tennis player traveling around without the vaccination” – Boris Becker
Boris Becker training Novak Djokovic at the 2016 French Open
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen numerous countries put a host of rules and restrictions in place in order to curb the spread of the virus. Nations such as Australia, France, and the United Kingdom are very particular about their residents being jabbed at least twice.
Experts predict that it would be next to impossible to travel freely in a few months without being double jabbed against COVID-19, given the rise of new variants.
In his article, Boris Becker touched upon that aspect, pointing out that tennis players, who are required to travel worldwide regularly, will not have it easy if they choose to remain unvaccinated.
“It is not just about Australia,” Boris Becker wrote. “The fact is that we are living in a different world and he is going to find it very hard to live the life of a professional tennis player travelling around without the vaccination.””Those are the rules, whether one likes them or not, and you have to accept it. Maybe one day we will get back to a more normal situation, but at 34 he does not have much time left to pursue his goals.”