Home » Kevin Pietersen demands Australian govt. apologise to Novak Djokovic amid AstraZeneca row

Kevin Pietersen demands Australian govt. apologise to Novak Djokovic amid AstraZeneca row

Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has suggested that the Australian government issue an apology to Novak Djokovic after the tennis great was not allowed to enter the Down Under country to participate in the Australian Open at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2022. 

Pitersen’s comments came after pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced it had withdrawn its COVID-19 vaccine worldwide. Earlier this month, the UK-based company acknowledged in court documents that the vaccine can cause a rare and dangerous side effect. 

“It’s time for every single person (who criticised) and the Australian government to issue an apology to @DjokerNole now. I think that would be fitting as he went through HELL! It seems he was onto something,” posted Pietersen on X, before deleting the post (formerly Twitter). 

What happened with Djokovic?

Djokovic was not allowed to participate in the first Grand Slam of the year, despite landing in Australia. The Australian government cancelled his visa upon arrival, despite granting a medical exemption earlier. The Aussie government argued that Djokovic was not issued the visa owing to the country’s strict guidelines regarding COVID-19 vaccination and because he wasn’t jabbed. 

Djokovic was sent into detention where he spent a few days before being released after winning the court case in Melbourne. He was later deported from the country after fighting a legal battle and was handed a three-year ban from entering Australia, casting doubts over his participation in the Australian Open in 2023.

However, a few weeks prior to the start of the Australian Open 2023, the government overturned the ban, allowing the Serb to compete where he went on to win his record Grand Slam title. 

Watch | What reasons did AstraZeneca give while withdrawing its COVID-19 vaccine globally?

“I am over what happened this year and I just want to play tennis, it is what I do best. Australia has always been the place where I have played my best tennis, the results speak for themselves, so I am always extra motivated to go there. This time even more so. I am hoping for a positive answer,” Djokovic said at the time. 

Despite the aggressive stance taken by the Australian government, Djokovic maintained that he was not against the vaccines but supported the freedom of choice. 

“I was never against vaccination. But I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body,” said Djokovic. 

“I understand that globally, everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus and seeing, hopefully, an end soon to this virus,” said the Serbian, adding that he had taken vaccines as a child.

(With inputs from agencies)


Abhinav Singh

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