Who is “Novax Djocovid”?


Novax Djocovid is the nickname of the world’s number 1, 2-time Grand Slam Tennis champion Novak Djokovic. He is infamously known for refusing to get vaccinated. 

In January 2022, unvaccinated Djokovic was denied entry into Australia, where he was set to play for another grand slam title at the Australian Open. He claimed that he didn’t need proof of vaccination because he had Covid a month earlier. But Australia needed to keep itself safe, and rules are rules. So, Australia canceled his visa, and on January 14, 2022, Djokovic was deported. As a result, he could not compete in the 2022 Australian Open.

Contrary to his actions, Djokovic stated that he wasn’t anti-vaccine. However, in April 2020, on a Facebook live chat, he said, “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.” Before Covid-19 vaccines were available, Djokovic made this statement clearly against vaccinations. He feels like there isn’t enough information available about the vaccine. Furthermore, he recently explained that he “fully supports the freedom to choose” what enters his body. He was worried about how it might affect his body and was very interested in boosting his metabolism to defend against Covid-19. Therefore, instead of being “forced,” he believes people can choose if they want to get vaccinated or not.

Even though he is a world-class tennis player, his position on vaccines has made him unpopular and has caused him to lose many fans. News articles, social media pages, and memes of “Novax Djocovid,” deportation from Australia, and anti-vax sentiment have skyrocketed. Many people disagree with his statements and prefer the advice of scientists and most doctors. According to an ATP spokesperson, 99% of the top 100 male tennis players are fully vaccinated. In other words, Djokovic is the only unvaccinated top player. 

Unfortunately, Novax Djocovid doesn’t mind being the only one. He seems unpersuaded to get the shot by the deportation, the vaccination status of the other major tennis players, comments from social media, and even fans. In fact, Djokovic stated that he would rather miss out on a grand slam tournament than get the Covid-19 vaccination. If vaccination is required, he will refuse to play in the 2022 Wimbledon and 2022 French Open. He said, “that is the price I’m willing to pay,” in his own words.

Will Djokovic ever get vaccinated? Who knows, but probably not. However, a prominent public figure such as Djokovic refusing to get vaccinated impacts the general population who looks up to him. Though people have the right to choose whether they want to get vaccinated or not, they also have to take public health and safety into account. This widespread mistrust in healthcare and vaccines is dangerous for prominent figures to spread because it can encourage others to also be anti-vax. Having such a big shot guy like Djokovic exempting the vaccine can cause major controversy. To Djokovic, refusing the vaccine was more important than playing in the Australian Open. That was a personal choice that has greatly impacted his career. In addition, there should be no reason to refuse the vaccine. The Covid-19 vaccine has been the most researched vaccine in history. All of the top scientists were working together to create this groundbreaking and extremely beneficial vaccine. The science doesn’t lie, even though Djokovic clearly does about his opinion on vaccines. Is refusing the vaccine more important than competing in important tennis tournaments? That is a question only Djokovic can answer. 

Will Djokovic ever return to Wimbledon? Only time will tell.