As the world tried to emerge from the pandemic, two world stars were making waves with their no-vaccine choices: Novak Djokovic, of course, and NBA star Kyrie Irving. Interestingly, both have taken up the subject in recent hours.
At the ATP in Tel Aviv (Israel), Novak Djokovic returns to play with points at stake in the world rankings. The latest Wimbledon winner, however, has Australian Open and US Open losses behind him, with the Laver Cup marking his comeback just after the London final.
At a press conference, the Serbian star returned to his convictions, in fact “fatal” for his status as number 1 in the world: “Watching Grand Slam matches from home, when you know you’re prepared and ready to be there, it’s nothing easy, but it is a situation that I have to accept: I made a decision and these are the consequences of that decision, and I am aware and I am convinced of it”
Meanwhile, across the pond, an NBA superstar prepares for the new season. Kyrie Irving, in 2021-2022, only played 34 of a potential 86 games with his Brooklyn Nets, this because the state of New York did not allow unvaccinated players to enter stadiums.
A position that caused a lot of discussion: because Irving is a superstar recognized by the title he won in Cleveland with LeBron James, and because he was at stake for a $35 million one-year contract. During his franchise’s Media Day, the player spoke about it again: “I gave up a four-year extension and more than 100 million dollars to not get vaccinated.
I didn’t know if he could play in the NBA or on this team. I made this decision consciously, even knowing that I risked losing my job. We should have reached an agreement already before training camp last season.”
Wertheim opens up on Djokovic
Renowned sports journalist Jon Wertheim recently shed some light on Novak Djokovic’s love-hate relationship with the press.
“It is naive to suggest we all commit to turning down the volume? The press doesn’t hate Djokovic. He’s an exquisite player. He’s fundamentally decent. Some in the media (and peers, fans, etc.) object to the Covid behavior.
That’s all. May the spirit of @LaverCup redound to fans,” he tweeted. Speaking at the pre-tournament press conference, the 21-time Grand Slam winner reflected on his career by saying he still has the “passion” and “hunger” to continue swinging his racquet despite winning almost everything in his career.
“I still want to play tennis even though I achieved pretty much everything that you can achieve in tennis,” said the Serb. “I still have passion and hunger to play at a highest professional level”.