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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – Novak Djokovic, the highest ranked tennis player in the world — who's also been banned from multiple tournaments due to his refusal to get the COVID jab — is now countering what he considers false narratives perpetuated by the mainstream media.
Competing at the Italian Open in Rome, Djokovic, a Serbian Orthodox Christian, recently spoke to Italy's Corriere della Sera, stating that he believes "95% of what has been written and said on TV about me in the last three years is totally false."
Three years ago, at the onset of the COVID-19 panic, Djokovic publicly expressed his opposition to the jab, asserting, "Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn't want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel."
CNN host asked Novak Djokovic if he regretted not taking the vaccine... pic.twitter.com/iz5bEFQWER— VaccineMole (@VaccineMole) March 29, 2023
Despite facing repercussions such as tournament bans and being labeled an "anti-vaxxer," Djokovic has remained steadfast in his convictions. Djokovic joins other prominent athletes such as NBA point guard Kyrie Irving and NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers in refusing the COVID shot.
In his conversation with Corriere della Sera, Djokovic clarified, "I'm not no vax, and I've never said I was. I'm not even pro-vax. ... The freedom to decide what things to inject into one's body is a fundamental human right and whatnot."
Continuing on the controversial topic, Djokovic added, "I explained it once to the BBC, but they eliminated many sentences — the ones that weren't convenient. So I never spoke of this story again. I was disappointed by the media and by many colleagues."
Over the weekend, Djokovic achieved his 17th successive Italian Open quarterfinal, establishing a record for consecutive quarterfinal appearances in any tournament.
Achievement unlocked ��— ATP Tour (@atptour) May 16, 2023
The defending champion glides through to the QF's in Rome for the 17th consecutive year ��@InteBNLdItalia | #IBI23 pic.twitter.com/DMHaiArxoK
Widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Djokovic is frequently mentioned alongside rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in discussions on tennis greatness.
During the interview in which Djokovic criticized the prevalence of fake news, he also provided insights into his competitive relationships with Federer and Nadal.
Reflecting on his rapport with Federer, Djokovic noted, "We have never been friends; it is not possible between rivals. However, we have never been enemies, and I've always had respect for Roger."
Regarding his connection with Nadal, Djokovic acknowledged, "At first we went to dinner together, but even with him friendship is impossible. I have always respected and admired him."
Djokovic expressed gratitude towards both rivals, acknowledging their influence on his personal growth and development as a player: "Thanks to [Nadal] and Federer I grew up and became who I am. This will unite us forever; therefore I feel gratitude towards them."
Djokovic, a practicing Orthodox Christian, emphasized his religious beliefs in 2011, stating, "Before being an athlete, I am an Orthodox Christian."
In recognition of his contributions that year, Djokovic received the Order of St. Sava, the highest distinction in the Serbian Orthodox Church.
Additionally, in 2012, the Russian Orthodox Church honored him with an award for "Outstanding Activity in Strengthening Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations and for Consolidation and Promotion of Christian Values in the Life of Society."
Djokovic also told Corriere, "I want to go back to Kosovo with my wife to baptize my children there."
He is set to play Holger Rune on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open. Rune, who's ranked No. 7 in the world, says he "can't wait" for their match in Rome.
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