The media is desperate to portray Novak Djokovic as “a bone-headed anti-vaxxer”, says James Billot in UnHerd. The reality is more complex. For a start, Djokovic grew up in communist Yugoslavia – so it’s no surprise he doesn’t like blanket rules. In his book Serve to Win, the tennis champion describes a childhood where there was “only one way of doing things”. Under communism, he explains, you were taught not to be open-minded. “If you are not open-minded, then you can be easily manipulated.” Djokovic’s family shares his anti-authoritarian streak – his father made headlines after calling Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison a “dictator”. His brother argues that none of them are “anti-vax” per se – they just support the right to choose.
You can hardly blame Djokovic for being outspoken, says Tom Morgan in The Daily Telegraph. Growing up in Belgrade, he and his family had to shelter in his grandfather’s basement from Nato’s bombing campaign in 1999. From those humble – and terrifying – beginnings, he has become one of Serbia’s most famous and respected personalities. One Belgrade museum even has a mosaic of his mother, Dijana, as the Virgin Mary – the artist called her a “saint” for giving birth to Djokovic. “With such praise ringing in their ears, perhaps the family can be forgiven for cranking up the rhetoric.”
Get our daily newsletter in your inbox
We cut through the noise to give you a fresh take on the world – in just five minutes a day. Sign up for the newsletter here.