The 34 year old Serbian star has backed out of two U.S. events due to COVID restrictions. Read to find out how the former No. 1 player’s career continues its downward trajectory.
Novak Djokovic’s descent continues
Novak Djokovic has bowed out of both the Indian Wells and Miami Open due to travel restrictions surrounding his unvaccinated status. This comes less than a month after his defeat in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Open to Jiri Vezel. The loss stripped Djokovic of his record 361 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the ATP rankings.
Since the start of the year, things have gone from bad to worse for one of the greatest to ever play tennis. With his future up in the air, it’s all speculation as to how Djokovic’s future in tennis pans out.
Djokovic in Decline
Djokovic’s refusal to get the vaccine is something he is clearly prioritizing over his career, reputation and on-court performance. After his loss in Dubai, Djokovic said he wanted to continue to play and that the goal was to continue to be on the court and participate in tournaments.
Clearly that claim holds less true than Djokovic really said, however, as the next opportunity he now has to play in a tournament, he is bowing out of over the vaccine yet again. However, in the same post-match press conference after his loss at Dubai, Djokovic also stated that he’s prioritizing his body and health over everything and that that is what comes first for him.
There’s no doubt that Djokovic thinks he’s doing what’s best for his health, but the simple fact is that he is misinformed on this matter. It’d be one thing if Djokovic was only affecting his own health by refusing to get the vaccine, but he also knew he had COVID back in December and went to a photo shoot event without informing anyone.
It’s hard to imagine that all this negative publicity surrounding Djokovic isn’t affecting his confidence. It’s no coincidence that he lost his top spot among the ATP rankings after almost seven years soon after making these waves over something not regarding tennis.
The fact that this ongoing and frankly unnecessary controversy has dragged out as much as it has is a total indictment of Djokovic’s character. There’s no denying that he’s one of the greatest tennis players of all time, but he’s stumbling down a path where this one issue is beginning to take a bigger toll on his legacy.
The prime of his career is past him as he’ll be 35 in May, and now he’ll be unable to take part in two U.S. tournaments because of something totally avoidable. If Djokovic were really committed to continuing his career and taking part in tournaments, he would be doing what it took to compete in Indian Wells and the Miami Open; especially after being recently upset at Dubai.
Djokovic was supposed to be the headline player at both tournaments, so the fact that he is bowing out of both really does show how strongly he feels about this issue. Unfortunately for Djokovic, any major U.S. tournament including the U.S. Open will require him to be vaccinated, so unless something changes here, he will not be able to compete on the professional level in the U.S. until vaccine mandates are altered for non-U.S. citizens.
Djokovic has already missed the Australian Open which is what more or less began this controversy and he may now very well miss both the U.S. and French opens. Considering his loss at Dubai, one would think that Djokovic would be doing everything he could to earn back that top spot on the ATP rankings.
Right now Djokovic’s future on the court is completely uncertain, and his eligibility to participate in two grand-slam tournaments is a giant question mark. Only time will tell where Djokovic’s career goes from here, but right now it is in a very bad way.