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Novak Djokovic should be allowed to compete at the US Open despite “totally failing” when it came to public responsibility during the coronavirus pandemic with prominent cardiologist Dr Jonathan Reiner saying he showed “pure selfishness” during the darkest point of the battle.
Having already missed his Australian Open title defence and the American-based Indian Wells Open and Miami Open earlier this year due to his unvaccinated status, Djokovic now looks set to also miss the final Grand Slam of the year at Flushing Meadows.
Although the United States Tennis Association doesn’t have vaccination mandate, they have confirmed they will follow the US government’s regulations, which state that unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to enter the country.
Djokovic remains unvaccinated against Covid-19 and he has made it clear that he is unlikely to change his position, hence he is not allowed to enter the United States.
There have been calls on US President Joe Biden to change the country’s position through a #LetNovakPlay online petition while American great John McEnroe has also urged authorities to allow the 21-time Grand Slam winner to compete.
Djokovic himself posted on social media last week that he is preparing as if he is allowed to compete at Flushing Meadows.
Dr Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University Hospital, feels the Serbian should be allowed to enter the US, but he didn’t hold back in his criticism of the 35-year-old.
Speaking on Patrick McEnroe’s Holding Court Podcast, he said: “When I look at someone like Djokovic, someone who has made hundreds of millions of dollars playing tennis, who has lived this incredibly fortunate life, I look at him to be some sort of a symbol of public responsibility.
“Despite the fact that I do think he should play in the United States, I think he has totally failed to do that during the darkest point in this pandemic where he should’ve been really seen as an example, he has failed to do that. What he did in fact was display selfishness, that’s what it was like last winter, pure selfishness.”
Reiner explained that athletes should also consider the greater good of society and lead by example, especially for youngsters.
He continued: “When I look to athletes, I look at them as people who sort of get to the public and to try and represent the best of us. When kids go to baseball games or they go to the US open and they’re rooting for a player…I look for a player to show me something that makes me want to reach higher levels in my life. Some demonstration of courage, or discipline, or sacrifice.
“I think during the pandemic wearing a mask in public has not been much of a sacrifice and just getting vaccinated to protect you and the community isn’t much of a sacrifice for yourself. But it is a statement for your commitment to your community.”
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