‘Need to Take It More Seriously’: Michael Phelps Calls for Novak Djokovic to Act as a ‘Role Model’ Amid Australian Open Saga

Published 01/13/2022, 11:28 PM EST
Sep 12, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia speaks to the crowd during the trophy presentation ceremony after his match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia (not pictured) in the men’s singles final on day fourteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


The start of the 2022 season of tennis has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Ever since men’s singles World Number 1 has set his foot in Australia, he has been embroiled in unwanted controversy. His vaccine exemption and subsequent cancelation of his visa have sparked global outrage.

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Moreover, celebrities around the globe are divided in their opinions regarding Novak Djokovic. Michael Phelps, the American swimming superstar, has recently broken his silence over this ordeal.

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Michael Phelps on the controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic

The most decorated Olympian of all time was asked about his views on the Djokovic debacle while speaking to CNN. He said, “As athletes, we are role models… I had Covid-19, and it was terrible… It was the most miserable experience I’ve really had. So, I don’t take that lightly. It’s something that has killed a lot of people and we all need to be on the same page for getting through this together.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JANUARY 06: Former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps speaks during a Panasonic press event for CES 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on January 6, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. CES, the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs January 7-10 and features about 4,500 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 170,000 attendees. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Further, the swimming legend added, “I hope that we can all agree on something and make it through this without losing more lives. Because I think we can all work together, follow certain guidelines and stay healthy.”

“We can fight through this. There are so many things going around in the media about Covid-19 and it’s overwhelming. It is kind of scary at times and I think we probably need to take it more seriously than we do.”

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He went on to add that there are a lot of people who are suffering and there are a lot of families that have lost their loved ones. In conclusion, the 36-year-old feels that global superstars should act as role models in this fight against Covid-19. They should follow Covid-19 related guidelines and set an example.

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The Serb’s chances at Australian Open 2022

Moving on to tennis, World Number 1 and top seed Novak Djokovic would be looking to defend his Australian Open title and claim a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title. He will face fellow countryman Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round.

Tennis – ATP Finals – Pala Alpitour, Turin, Italy – November 19, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his group stage match against Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Further, Djokovic and Nadal could lock horns in the semi-finals in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter. Can Djokovic shatter the record of most Grand Slam titles in men’s singles and enter the history books? Do let us know your views in the comments below.

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DIVE DEEPER: Andrey Rublev Questions Novak Djokovic Stance, Says He ‘Regrets’ Discussing Such Things Over Tennis 

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Vatsal Shah

61 articles

Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.

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