Neil Drysdale: I stand with Andy Murray over Novak Djokovic within the court docket of public opinion
Andy Murray, born on Might 15, was a gifted all-round sportsman, who was provided a trial with Rangers, however selected to focus his consideration on tennis and earned unprecedented success on the worldwide circuit, not solely profitable three main titles, however boldly going the place no Scot had gone earlier than.
And Novak Djokovic, who arrived on Might 22, has pushed and propelled himself to the brink of immortality, is revered in his native Serbia, and has amassed at least 20 majors and stands getting ready to setting a brand new document within the males’s recreation if he can attain only one extra title.
That is the story of two little boys who entered the world inside every week of each other in 1987.
Once you take a look at their respective information, it could be straightforward to conclude that Murray is an effective participant and Djokovic an incredible one, although that’s not the way it seems to many people. Quite the opposite, given the litany of harm woes he has endured for a lot of his 30s, it’s a near-miracle that the Scot remains to be concerned in pursuing contemporary glory on the ATP circuit.
After which there’s their personalities, their perspective to those that observe them and their interplay with the youthful era. On this regard, it’s no contest. I recall studying an obituary in regards to the late songwriter and document producer Ike Turner, which described him as “a brilliantly skilled musician, however novice human being”.
And just about the identical might be stated about Djokovic, who has change into nearly as well-known for his anti-vaccination stance as his serve and volley.
Except you’ve been residing in a cave because the begin of 2022, you’ll concentrate on how the world No 1 turned up for the Australian Open, claimed he had a medical exemption, was detained on the airport after which caught in a detention circle, because the attorneys circled. The circus led to Djokovic profitable a court docket battle that overturned his visa cancellation, however Australia’s immigration minister nonetheless has powers to deport the unvaccinated participant.
His household have in contrast him to Jesus, the Australian Authorities has been attacked by the likes of Nigel Farage (who has been deliciously trolled by Murray) and the saga has utterly overshadowed tennis, which, for many individuals, is the one space through which Djokovic is certified to supply his opinion.
Personally, I might argue he’s entitled to air his views on every part underneath the solar, on the understanding that others are allowed to model it as bunkum. If he doesn’t wish to take the Covid vaccination, so be it.
He’s an grownup and he claims to have weighed up the proof. However this isn’t nearly him, it’s in regards to the risk he would possibly infect different extra susceptible folks and the message he’s sending out to his many aficionados on social media, who’ve now hailed him as some type of Messiah.
This isn’t the primary time he has strayed into controversy and dabbled in pseudo science. He believes in telekinesis and telepathy, thinks that water can keep away from turning into polluted if you happen to “direct loving power” in direction of it, and has change into shut pals with a self-styled “wellness guru” Jafarieh, with whom he has participated in Instagram chats labelled “The Self Mastery Venture”.
When skilled tennis was on maintain on the peak of the outbreak in June 2020, he thought it was superb to organise the Adria Tour, a sequence of exhibition occasions within the Balkans. The match was deserted in Croatia after Grigor Dimitrov examined optimistic for coronavirus, earlier than Djokovic, his spouse, Jelena, and gamers Viktor Troicki and Borna Coric revealed in addition they had the virus.
It was a massively silly enterprise at a stage the place there have been no vaccines and many of the globe’s main gamers had put their careers on hiatus. However that’s self-entitlement for you; the assumption the conventional guidelines don’t apply.
Murray, in distinction, has described getting the vaccine as a “no-brainer” and, whereas he has been pressured to adapt to life shutting down in some ways for the final two years, he is aware of he’s in a extra privileged place than most.
As he stated final summer season: “It isn’t a lot enjoyable going and staying within the bubbles.