Novak Djokovic's Rollercoaster: From 'Villain of the World' to Australian Open Triumph

Novak Djokovic, in a revealing 60 Minutes interview with Jon Wertheim, expressed feeling like “a villain of the world” during the tumultuous 2022 Australian Open, where he faced deportation for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccination.

While affirming his pro-choice stance and clarifying that he is not anti-vax, Djokovic found himself at the center of a heated debate as he sought an exemption to participate in the tournament. The process came down to the wire, casting a shadow over his chances of competing.

Compounding the drama, Djokovic endured a stay in a less-than-ideal hotel housing refugees and those in self-isolation, only to be ultimately deported and banned from the country. Initially facing a multi-year ban, Djokovic’s fortunes shifted with a change in the Australian administration, leading to the rescindment of the ban and his triumphant return to win this year’s tournament.

Reflecting on the challenging experience, Djokovic shared, “I was basically declared as a villain of the world. I had basically most of the world against me. I had that kind of experience on the tennis court with crowds, in that they were maybe not cheering me on. But I never had this particular experience before in my life.”

Addressing accusations of misleading the Australian public, especially in a climate heavily favoring vaccination and lockdowns, Djokovic defended himself, stating, “It wasn’t my position to read anybody. I got the exemption, I got the permission to come into the country. Of course, it escalated to the highest of highest levels globally.”

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