Djokovic is no hero

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic has won a court battle that has been going on since January 6 to enter Australia. A Melbourne court ordered the release of Djokovic from the detention center and reinstated his visa. This decision is being described as a major victory against compulsory vaccination. But is it really so? Was Djokovic really representing a global fight against compulsory vaccination and has emerged as the hero of this global war? It’s not like this. In fact, a group of people who oppose compulsory vaccination, Djokovic himself, his father and the people of Serbia are projecting this fight as a global war against vaccination.

Djokovic’s own opinion about vaccination is not very clear. He said in an online chat with another male tennis player Andy Murray on 19 April 2020, ‘Personally I am against vaccination and I do not want anyone to force me to travel if I have to take the vaccine. Will be’. He added, ‘But what if it becomes mandatory? Then I have to decide. I have my own thoughts on this. Whether these views will change in the future, I do not know. Two months later, Djokovic started the controversial Adria Tour, which held exhibition tennis matches in Belgrade, Serbia, and Croatia. In this, any guidelines issued regarding Kovid-19 were not followed. When the corona started spreading among the players and their teammates in that big event, it had to be ended prematurely. After this, on 23 June 2020, Djokovic himself confirmed that he had been corona infected.

When the US Open began in August that year, Djokovic opened up about his views on the vaccine. He introduced the principle of ‘my body, my choice’ in an interview to the ‘New York Times’ and said that he is not against any kind of vaccination, but if ‘someone wants to put something in my body against my will’ I oppose him’. Keep in mind that till that time no vaccine had been prepared and hence no law was made for compulsory or voluntary vaccination. But then Djokovic expressed his opinion. By the way, he keeps expressing his opinion on many things, like other players, actors etc. Such an opinion is sometimes even foolish. Like when Djokovic sat at home in the first wave of Corona, in May 2020, in an Instagram Live with a wellness guru, Cherwin Geoffrey, he said that ‘infected water can be purified with positive emotions’.

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However, this is an isolated incident. His religious, spiritual, philosophical views have their place. But the ideas they have been expressing about the vaccine and the euphoria that a particular group is creating all over the world, is neither rational nor scientific. ‘My body is my choice’ is a very good thing in theory, as are many other theories. But every principle has some exceptions and every good theory is subject to certain rules and regulations. No freedom can be unlimited. Unlimited freedom can lead to anarchy. It is true that Novak Djokovic has a right over his body and no one can put anything in his body without his consent. But if their body is infected they certainly cannot be allowed to infect others. It cannot be their right to infect others with their infected body as it would be a violation of other people’s right. Think, what would happen if suicide bombers, fidayeens started philosophizing their terrorist activities by referring to the principle of ‘my body, my choice’?

It is also important to understand on what basis they win the battle in the court of Australia. It’s not like a Melbourne court has accepted that he hasn’t had a dose of the vaccine, but it doesn’t matter that he can stay in Australia and play tennis. Novak Djokovic’s lawyers made a very simple argument and said that Djokovic was infected with Korana last month, for which he has evidence, so he does not need to give proof of vaccination. That in itself is sufficient. Because everywhere in the world it is a rule that a corona infected person will be vaccinated only after a certain time of being free from infection. It is also a proven fact that the natural immunity formed after infection is stronger and more durable than the immunity produced by the vaccine. So, on this basis, Djokovic was allowed to stay in Australia. This is being publicized as an Australian court rejecting the principle of compulsory vaccination or assuming that one can live in that country without vaccination. It’s not like this. A court in Australia granted an exemption to Novak on the basis of meeting one of several standards set for exemption from vaccination in his country.

Now the question is, why did the Melbourne authorities not approve earlier on this ground? Or why was he put in the detention center in the first place? This is because the federal and provincial systems in Australia are independent of each other and enjoy a great deal of autonomy. As far as Melbourne is concerned, the rules there are the strictest. Only then it is said that many can reach Perth from New York but it is difficult to go from Perth to Melbourne. Due to such laws, the people of Australia had to live in the longest and strictest lockdown. That country had stopped the return of its own people. The case of Novak Djokovic is also a part of that. It is a case of tussle and red tape between Tennis Australia, the federal government of Canberra and the Victorian government of Melbourne, which is being combined with Novak’s views on vaccination to make a global affair.

By law, players like Djokovic should spread scientific consciousness among the people by keeping aside their personal anger and hatred in the time of Corona’s horrific epidemic and should not do any such thing, which creates confusion among the people. But sadly, Djokovic over-promoted his illogical thinking. That is why winning the court battle in Australia is not a global or a human achievement. This is his personal achievement. He can now stay in Australia, compete in the Australian Open and maybe even win his 21st Grand Slam and become the world’s all-time tennis player. But this will also be his personal achievement. Novak is the most gifted player in tennis history, but Roger Federer better represents the game of tennis and the principle of the game. On Novak’s controversy, he said that ‘this controversy would not have happened, if Novak had taken the vaccine’. He said ‘One thing is clear that if you had done this, you would not have had any problem playing here’. At least in the case of the corona vaccine, the world should listen to Federer.

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