Djokovic’s legacy at risk – Match Points #37 podcast sample

In his interview with the BBC Novak Djokovic says he will not get vaccinated. Tennis Majors’ esteemed panel discusses Djokovic’s decision and possible ramifications.

February 16, 2022

Novak Djokovic has given his first public interview since being deported from Australia, and in it the world No 1 confirmed his intention to not take the coronavirus vaccine. Djokovic told the BBC that he is willing to risk missing Roland-Garros and Wimbledon this summer, because he feels his personal freedom is more important.

In Match Points #37, Marion Bartoli, Carole Bouchard and Simon Cambers discuss the implications of Djokovic’s decision, wondering what is motivating him to risk his legacy and whether or not he will change his mind in the coming months.

The panel combs over the issues with host Josh Cohen, discussing whether or not Djokovic may be helped by a loosening of coronavirus restrictions across Europe this spring as the omicron variant begins to abate and temperatures begin to warm.


1’09: Carole Bouchard looks at the BBC interview with a glass half-full approach. She’s hopeful that Djokovic is keeping an open mind and thinks that there is a chance he will eventually get vaccinated. But she adds that Djokovic is “picking the wrong hill to die on.”

2’49: Simon Cambers does not believe that Djokovic will get vaccinated, and points out that 99 of the ATP’s top-100 are already vaccinated. Cambers believes that restrictions will ease in Europe this spring and that Djokovic will likely be permitted to play without being vaccinated.

5’24: Marion Bartoli was surprised by the BBC interview, because she was expecting that Djokovic would be vaccinated. She goes on to wonder how well the world No 1 will be able to play next week in Dubai, given that he has not played in three months, and been through a lot of chaos during that time.

7’14: Cambers points out that even though Djokovic claims that he is not anti-vax, his name is still being used by the anti-vax community. “It’s a horrible balancing act, in many ways,” says Cambers. “It’s one thing to say that he’s not anti-vax, but he doesn’t say ‘I believe in vaccines.'”

Novak Djokovic, 2022
Novak Djokovic le 28 janvier 2022 à Budva © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

11’31: Changing tunes, the panel debates who was the guilty party for the Djokovic saga in Melbourne in January. Marion Bartoli leads off and says that the Australian government deserves the blame, due to the fact that they determined that Djokovic was a risk to the population. “That’s where I was really getting confused and quite mad, actually,” Bartoli said.

13’10: Bouchard agrees, saying that the brunt of the blame rests with the Australian government. “In the end you have deported someone for an idea that he hasn’t even put out in the open, right now you have hundreds of people in Australia resisting the vaccine and Novak Djokovic isn’t there anymore – I’m still absolutely shocked at the way they’ve treated him.”

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