Goran Ivanisevic has hit back at critics who suggest that Novak Djokovic is the leader of an anti-vax movement.
Djokovic was deported ahead of the Australian Open in January due to his unvaccinated status. Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke argued his decision to cancel Djokovic's visa for a second time was due to fears the Serb would stoke anti-vax sentiments.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner is also set to miss the US Open next month. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) have confirmed they will follow the rules set out by the US government which states you cannot enter America unless you have been vaccinated for Covid-19. Djokovic hopes the government will change their stance.
Federer at 41: Will he play the US Open? When will he play next?
Ivanisevic, who has been coaching Djokovic since 2019, says it is "wrong" to label the Serb as a leading figure for anti-vaccinated people.
“I don’t know about the US Open [entry], it’s difficult,” Ivanisevic told Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija ahead of the Croatia Open this week.
“I am more optimistic that I will get an invitation and win Umag than that they will let him to the US Open.
“They don’t ask for vaccination there, but as a country they are closed to the unvaccinated, for now he can’t enter the country.
"I respect and appreciate him, he made a decision that he will not change.
"When they proclaim him to be a leader, to have a bad influence on people, that is wrong.
"He doesn’t want to get vaccinated, he doesn’t want to introduce it into his body, and he never told others not to get vaccinated. I respect and support his decision."
Ivanisevic claims Djokovic and his team have been "terrorised" by critics of the world No. 7's unvaccinated status.
"I hope these decisions are reversed," he said. "People infected in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and nothing to anyone.
"There are so many contradictions, I was vaccinated, it’s not a problem for me, but… for two and a half years they terrorise us, when you’re infected it’s like you have scabies, they throw you and the team out. We were on the wall of shame.”
ATP Montreal
Medvedev, Zverev, Nadal, Alcaraz and the battle to be world No. 1
US Open
'Complete lunacy' - Isner blasts Djokovic's US Open absence due to vaccination status
04/08/2022 AT 17:01