Novak Djokovic labelled ‘king of stupidity’ ahead of tennis return
After nearly six weeks on the sidelines, Novak Djokovic will return to the court in Monte Carlo this week.
The current world number was unable to compete at Indian Wells and the Miami Open due to his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Djokovic’s stance also saw him deported from Australia earlier this year and unable to defend his Australian Open title.
His absences allowed for Daniil Medvedev to briefly replace him as world no.1 and saw Rafael Nadal beat Djokovic and Roger Federer to a record 21st Grand Slam.
Marcelo Rios, a former world number one himself, has slammed Djokovic’s decision to sit out of key tournaments at such a pivotal point of his career.
“It’s stupid, he is going to give up the race and he is not going to be the best in history because of a vaccine,” Rios was quoted by La Tercera.
“I thought the same, but then I started travelling and I had to take it.
“I don’t know what the reason is, but if you’re trying to be the best in history and you’re going to give up the race for some vaccines, you have to be the king of stupidity.
“I believe that at first it was out of fear, but now he is being too arrogant.”
Djokovic’s unvaccinated status had also previously meant he might have been unable to play the French Open but recent rule changes mean he will be able to compete.
The 34-year-old’s last match came in Dubai on February 25 when he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by unseeded Jiri Vesely.
Djokovic is set to return to action in the round of 32 at the Monte-Carlo Masters this week with Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina awaiting him.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) April 3, 2022
Speaking before the tournament about his turbulent 2022 to date, the Serbian admitted it has been a lot to handle but he’s eager to turn the page on past events.
“The last four, five months have been really challenging for me mentally and emotionally, but here I am and I try to leave all that behind and move on,” Djokovic said.
“I still feel motivation to be on the tour and compete…and try to challenge the best players in the world for the biggest titles.
“It will take some time, some matches, to really get in the groove.”