Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic says that last year in Australia he was presented as the biggest villain in the world and that he still cannot recover from what happened to him in this country. He says that he will have a hard time forgetting what happened to him at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, when he was deported from the country after literally two weeks of being in Australian prisons and detention centers.
"I was really drawn into a storm in media worldwide that was related to anything to do with COVID and the vaccine," he told 9News Melbourne. "All of a sudden I became the villain of the world which is obviously a terrible position to be in as an athlete."
Several weeks after his return to Serbia, he did not leave the house.
" There was not a great narrative in the media about me at all," he said.
"I stayed for several weeks at home, didn't really go around too much. I just hoped that the situation would calm down, which it did, but the traces stayed there. "The traces followed for several months after and I didn't know it was going to affect my game and the way I play.
It was not easy for me mentally to regroup and restart again. "The traces of what was happening, I could still feel it. In every press conference I was asked at least one or two questions about Australia and what happened. Even if I wanted to move on, people were reminding me of that." Finally, he added that he understands the frustration of Australians because the media there completely misrepresented the whole story.
" It's still unfortunate and it hurts me that most of the people will have a wrong idea about what happened. That's what hurts me the most," he said. "The media has picked on me big time for several months and not in a positive note, so that has created a lot of disturbance to my brand and to me personally and people around me.
"It is something that you have to accept and deal with at the moment. I wouldn't say that it is something that would destroy or eliminate everything that I have achieved on and off the court throughout my career. "It was so impactful and it echoed so far around the world that a lot of people will still talk about and remember it for a long time and it is something that is going to follow me for some time."