Saturday, May 18, 2024

World’s Best Is Firm in His View on Vaccines and No. 1 Ranking

Novak Djokovic is the world’s best tennis player, but that hasn’t translated to him holding the No. 1 ranking at the moment.

He is absurdly ranked No. 7 in the world even after his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title yesterday. He sits second in all-time grand slam titles behind Rafael Nadal at 21, but is sure to contend for the potentially unbreakable record as they both approach 40 years old. He is in his prime even in his mid-thirties, and he not only is the greatest tennis player on the planet, but more importantly has firmly solidified himself as an all-time sports great.

Serbian Novak Djokovic has spent much of his career being jeered by fans for his sometimes-irritating reactions on the court–not to mention for his unceremonious injection of himself somewhere along the way in the who’s-the-greatest-between-Roger Federer-and-Rafa Nadal argument. But now as he becomes the grizzly veteran not going away anytime soon himself, he is becoming a crowd favorite. Former sports stars like Jimmy Connors and George Foreman can attest. Anyone can rise from the ashes of the crowd’s disdain and become a sort of emblem of greatness sometimes brought on only by age and wisdom.

But it isn’t Djokovic’s tennis stardom or his changes on the court that have drawn the attention of this writer and former sports superfan.

Two things are true of my following of sports in the past: one, I was entirely too occupied, by thankfully lessening degrees over the years, with sports, especially with LSU athletics; and two, of the super three-headed monster named Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic who have dominated the men’s tennis landscape this entire century, it is the latter of the three that I have rooted against the most.

Federer was my favorite and I hated when he’d lose to Nadal. (I took that 2008 Wimbledon loss particularly hard). Then I started to respect Nadal more and more as he aged. It was because of both players’ tennis prowess specifically that I followed and rooted for them.

But today, and really this year in general, it is Djokovic I am finding myself respecting the most, and it has nothing to do with his ranking or what he is doing on the court.

A Jab at His Faith

Back in January, Djokovic was deported from Australia after refusing to receive the Covid-19 jab. While there was apparently not a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the deportation and his refusal to submit, the ruling prohibited him from defending his 2021 Australian Open title. But while it left him “extremely disappointed,” he accepted his fate–and he did it because he was standing up for what he believed in.

“What people probably don’t know is that I was not deported from Australia on the basis that I was not vaccinated, or I broke any rules or that I made an error in my visa declaration,” Djokovic told the BBC back in February. “The reason why I was deported from Australia was because the minister for immigration used his discretional right to cancel my visa based on his perception that I might create some anti-vax sentiment in the country or in the city, which I completely disagree with.”

Sure, for cynics out there, it may seem painless for a multimillionaire to excuse himself from a measly tennis tournament when “real, hard-working people” are fighting to pay for five-dollar (eight, nine, ten…) gas. But I respectfully ask that the reader suspend such a crass approach to this man and this story in favor of a more positive one, for, like it or not, the reality is that some human beings do in fact need the visible, prominent symbol to drive them to believe in achieving something greater. It is the whole premise behind the dark, destructive heroism of a Batman. It is the whole premise behind the intrusive, antagonistic posture of a Donald Trump. There are people in the public eye that occasionally must stir things up a bit in order for people to see, to really see, and then to get angry enough because of what they see to fight for change themselves. Americans saw this with former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling back in June.

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Djokovic does not hide his faith in Christ, regularly wearing a wooden cross around his neck in matches and appearing to frequently be praying. His wife has also been seen praying in the stands during his matches. Missing tennis tournaments “is the price that I am willing to pay,” he said, noting that he was even willing to sacrifice his world top ranking, which of course he has. “The principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else.”

It wasn’t just the vaccine that suddenly made Djokovic make his stance. He has long been an individual who looks inward and tries to honor his body as the temple of God it is. He has always been careful about everything he ingests.

“Everyone has the right to choose, to act, or say whatever they feel is appropriate for them,” he told the BBC, adding that he believes in “the freedom to choose what you put into your body.”

“And, for me, that is essential. I am trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can. Based on all the information that I got, I decided not to take the vaccine.”

Some of that information he got is likely based on this collection of peer-reviewed case reports and studies citing adverse effects after Covid “vaccination.”

In 2018, Djokovic had to take time away to have surgery on his elbow. While most others might feel relieved or even pompous in their healing, he instead felt guilty. “Every time I thought about what I did, I felt like I had failed myself,” he said in an interview with Telegraph after the surgery.

This is the type of guilt that only a person who understands the cross would recognize. Djokovic felt like a sellout for, in his mind, side-stepping his suffering. What might be a work of God’s miraculous hands for some was something entirely different for him. That may make people roll their eyes and fall into cynicism, but it is hard not to respect a man who sees the value in self-sacrifice, no matter where in his life he can locate the opportunity to exercise it. Even when he fails.

Djokovic has made a life of carrying out his faith both on and off the court. Because of his upbringing in Serbia, he knows about the violence and misery war can inflict. He understands the difficulties of this life:

Off the court, the tennis champion is known for being generous to his fellow Orthodox Christians and his home country of Serbia. 

Djokovic grew up in Serbia as a Christian amid violence in Serbia’s war between Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to Greek City Times. In 2005, he met his wife, Jelena, who now works alongside him in efforts to rebuild churches and schools affected by natural disasters.

In April 2011, Djokovic received the Order of Saint Sava, which is the highest honor given by the Serbian Orthodox Church. “This is the most important title of my life, because before being an athlete, I am an Orthodox Christian,” he told Aleteia, an international Roman Catholic news publication. The honor was given to him for financial contributions to the renovation of religious buildings in Serbia and generosity within the Orthodox community.

In 2012, Djokovic was honored with another award from the Russian Orthodox Church for “outstanding activity in strengthening unity of Orthodox Christian nations and for consolidation and promotion of Christian values in the life of society.”

During his quarantine in Australia, The Associated Press reported that a priest from the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church in Melbourne asked to visit Djokovic to celebrate Orthodox Christmas — celebrated on Jan. 7 — but was denied permission to do so by immigration officials, who said the hotel was on lockdown.

Djokovic has been standing up to the world elites who are attempting to subdue humanity into a New World Order fraught with mass control.

Djokovic has been fighting like an American Revivalist.

The Serbian has, like many others, known from the start that there was something disconcerting about this enormous push to force “vaccinations” onto people, and he is now paying the price for it. This is cause for respect and hope that we all can pull together and fight the tyranny out to enslave the world. Even former tennis great and current color analyst John McEnroe is speaking out against the US government after Djokovic’s Wimbledon victory. Because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, Djokovic will not be allowed to enter the United States to play in the US Open in the fall.

“These politicians are getting in the way too much,” McEnroe said. “They did it in Australia. Let’s let the guy come in and play in the US. I mean, come on. This is ridiculous.”

“I would love to go to States. But as of today, that’s not possible,” Djokovic said on June 25. “There is not much I can do anymore. I mean, it’s really up to the US government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country.”

Perhaps if Novak crossed at the southern border with the hoards of other illegal immigrants flooding our country, he might be deemed worthy enough to play in New York in September.

Now that’s cynicism you can believe in.

As Americans all know, it takes an invasion of aliens right now to be welcomed into the land of the free. This is why the American patriot must continue to bravely stay in the fight and inspire others to do the same, much like we are seeing in Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. For as greats like Djokovic continue to use their celebratory status to stand up and stand out, it will be the “common” folk–with or without the worship of our bouncing balls–who follow their lead in fighting oppression and making this nation and world truly great again.

May everyone named directly or referenced indirectly ask forgiveness and do penance for their sins against America and God. I fight this information war in the spirit of justice and love for the innocent, but I have been reminded of the need for mercy and prayers for our enemies. I am a sinner in need of redemption as well after all, for my sins are many. In the words of Jesus Christ himself, Lord forgive us all, for we know not what we do.