Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee hails Novak Djokovic as a ‘person of principle’ for his anti-vax stance and backs him to win a 10th Australian Open: ‘He stands by his word’
- Aussie tennis great Paul McNamee says Novak Djokovic is a ‘person of principle’
- McNamee says the Serb is the best in the world and backs him to win a 10th title
- Djokovic was deported from Australia 12 months ago over his vaccination status
Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee has backed Novak Djokovic to win a historic 10th Australian Open men’s singles title in January after proving himself to be a ‘person of principle’ over his anti-vax stance.
The Serbian ace will return to Melbourne in January, one year after being deported from the country and banned from re-entering for three years after it was ruled he had the potential to stir up anti-vaccination sentiment.
Aussie tennis legend Paul McNamee has backed Djokovic to win a historic 10th Australian Open title in January and called him a ‘person of principle’ for his anti-vax stance
The Serbian ace will return to Melbourne in January, one year after being deported from Australia and banned from re-entering for three years, in a decision that was later overturned
The nine-time Australian Open champ’s decision to not get vaccinated during the pandemic not only cost him the No.1 ranking, but saw his rival Rafael Nadal take the outright lead in total amount of grand slam titles won when he took out the men’s singles Crown in Melbourne.
Djokovic’s Australian visa ban was overturned by the federal government last month.
Former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee believes the Serb is the best player in the world and the deserved favorite to take out the trophy.
‘He was the best player going in [last summer] and, on form, he is still the best player, especially on hard court, so he deserves to be favourite,’ McNamee told The Age.
Former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee (pictured with wife Lesley) believes the Serb is the best player in the world and the favorite to take out the trophy
‘I think winning 10 has a special ring to it. The only other man who’s won 10 [at a grand slam event] is Rafa at the French, so I think he’ll be going hard to get a 10th Australian Open, especially after last year.
‘I’m hoping he can get it. For me, he’s a person of principle. Not everyone agrees with what his position is [on vaccination]but he stands by his word and missed two grand slams this year.
‘That’s a lot to miss when you’re one off winning the most grand slams, so I respect it and I hope he is well received.’
McNamee believes Djokovic (pictured) is the best player in the world on hard court
McNamee, who was also a former doubles world No.1, praised the way Djokovic has conducted himself throughout the saga.
‘People forget that he set up the Covid vaccination clinics in Serbia, and that his own son’s vaccinated,’ he said.
‘It’s just what he believes for him – but it’s obviously not what mainstream beliefs are, and fair enough. I’m vaccinated and it’s a personal choice.
‘I was very disappointed with how it went down … that’s the way it goes, isn’t it? But it’s in the past now.
Djokovic (pictured after winning the Australian Open in 2021) is delighted to be returning to Melbourne and says he doesn’t hold any lasting resentment towards Australia
‘I think this is a great Australian Open to be looking forward to, and with the United Cup kicking off the season, I think we’re going to have a big summer.
‘Novak certainly adds gravy and gravitas to the whole thing.’
Djokovic is delighted to be returning to Melbourne and says he doesn’t hold any lasting resentment towards Australia.
‘I don’t hold any grudges,’ he said after the French Open.
‘Look, you know, it was what it was. If I have an opportunity to go back to Australia and play a place where I made the biggest success in my career in grand slams, I would love to come back.