The Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is currently in Israel, competing in the 2022 Tel Aviv Watergen Open which will be winding up on Sunday.
The 35-year-old Djokovic appears to be enjoying his stay in the Holy Land. He was greeted by a crowd of admirers as he left his hotel on Saturday night. Several called out that he was a “hero”. One person called out that he was “a great example for a free man for a free world.”
This was a reference to the tennis star’s stand on COVID vaccinations. During the pandemic, Djokovic was vocal about his opposition to forced vaccinations, saying that he was extremely careful about what he puts into his body. Due to being unvaccinated, he was unable to compete in the 2022 Australian Open and the 2022 US Open.
He described his straight-set win over Roman Safiullin in the semi-finals as “quite emotional.”
“I must say I was quite emotional on the court today in the second set, there was a lot of tension, and that was also due to his aggressive style of tennis,” Djokovic said. “Big serves, and when he has time, he’s so solid from the forehand and backhand corner.”
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 1, 2022
He is staying in the presidential suite of the luxurious Royal Beach Hotel on Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Street and was sighted working out in his distinctive manner on Tel Aviv Beach.
When Novak Djokovic works out – almost – incognito on the beach in Tel-Aviv
— We Are Tennis (@WeAreTennis) September 28, 2022
Djokovic will face Croatian Marin Čilić on Sunday.
The event is the first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournament that Israel has hosted since 1996. Professional tennis players from around the world are competing for a prize money fund worth $949,475.
Djokovic is currently ranked seventh worldwide. He has been ranked world No. 1 for a record total 373 weeks and has finished as the year-end No. 1 a record seven times. Some observers, tennis players and coaches describe Djokovic as the greatest of all time.
During the pandemic, Djokovic was vocal about his opposition to forced vaccinations, saying that he was extremely careful about what he puts into his body. Due to being unvaccinated, he was unable to compete in the 2022 Australian Open and the 2022 US Open.