Novak Djokovic’s ill-conceived Adria Tour should come as a stark warning to anyone doubting medical science.
Not only is the health of the World No.1 and his wife now at risk after the pair contracted coronavirus, the health of several other tennis stars has also been put in jeopardy after Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki all tested positive.
'DO SOMETHING ELSE’: Djokovic father's swipe at Federer
The whole debacle should serve as a warning against many of the anti-intellectual and shoddy natural healing remedies Djokovic and his wife Jelena have espoused in the months since the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
Soon after the spread of the virus took hold globally, Djokovic’s anti-vaccination views were made public, while Jelena was heavily criticised for spreading the widely de-bunked and bogus conspiracy theory that the rollout of 5G internet technology was somehow responsible for the spread of the virus.
Tennis insider Ben Rothenberg said there was little doubt Djokovic’s personal beliefs, which flew in the face of widely held medical consensus, were the reason why he decided to press ahead with the tournament.
“I think that Djokovic’s health opinions and views are probably a part of this; he has been sceptical about a vaccine,” he told Off the Ball Sports.
“He has brought all kinds of weird pseudoscience people on his channels, bringing on all kinds of strange gurus to talk about changing water with positive thinking and things like that.
“The scepticism of science did him no favours here.”
Novak Djokovic’s anti-vax views slammed
Rothenberg was also quick to draw a distinction between alternative lifestyles such as veganism, a personal choice that has little medical impact, and fringe beliefs like Djokovic’s.
“When (Djokovic) talks about veganism and meditation, that is completely fine and is his prerogative to do,” Rothenberg said.
“When he starts preaching more things that could be misleading and dangerous to people, that is not a positive thing to be doing with his platform.”
The Djokovics contracted coronavirus after spending their year, charitably, on the scientific fringes.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 23, 2020
Jelena had a post flagged for spreading 5G rumor nonsense; Novak had this ding-dong on his Instagram channel for at least three different sessions.pic.twitter.com/TC8Lso7bdi
Which mid-pandemic Djokovic health blunder was most egregious?— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 22, 2020
Pick one or rank them:
1) Anti-vaccine sentiments
2) Instagrams featuring charlatan
3) Saying water can be purified with positivity
4) Holding bacchanalian Adria Tour
5) Leaving Croatia w/o test post-Grigor news
Fortunately, the Djokovic’s views have not gained any widespread credibility, with Instagram labelling Jelena’s video about 5G ‘false’ and other players coming out to publicly disagree with Djokovic’s views against vaccination.
Australian star Nick Kyrgios was a frequent critic of Djokovic’s attempt to host a tournament as the world remains in the grips of the pandemic.
“Prayers up to all the players that have contracted Covid- 19,” Kyrgios said, retweeting a video of the players dancing shirtless in Belgrade.
“Don't @ me for anything I've done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ - this takes the cake.”
Prayers up to all the players that have contracted Covid - 19. Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ - this takes the cake. https://t.co/lVligELgID— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) June 23, 2020
🚨 Djokovic has tested positive for coronavirus after fuelling vaccine conspiracies online.— Marianna Spring (@mariannaspring) June 23, 2020
He and his wife are no stranger to coronavirus conspiracies - his views have fed into false claims about mandatory vaccines in Facebook groups during the pandemic.
More here @BBCNews👇 pic.twitter.com/bPdhBoLQlo
Ah, just remembered this belter from Novak Djokovic last month on the topic of anti-vax— Brend (@JuiceBoax) June 23, 2020
Djokovic may be a great tennis player but he’s also an ill-informed idiot. Openly anti-vaxx, thinks humans can change the structure of H2O with their minds, organised a tennis comp with no safety measures re Covid-19.— Dr Ravi (@DrRaviJ) June 23, 2020
I don’t believe in Karma but....https://t.co/vaLwNlIDUa pic.twitter.com/aaUjm0mzCr