Balking mad: Djokovic and the anti-vaxx horde reject science in ...

World

Balking mad: Djokovic and the anti-vaxx horde reject science in E Europe

Scepticism of mainstream empirical thought seems to be behind a virus resurgence in the troubled region

Stephen McGrath and John Mullin

Perhaps tennis star Novak Djokovic is to blame. His tournament in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and Bosnia was a well-meaning project, a celebration of sport for fans starved of live action, an all-star occasion to mark the Balkans’ victory over coronavirus.

The Adria 2020 Tour was, instead, a debacle, with players hugging and high-fiving before packed stands. Worse than the casual flouting of social distancing was the behind-the-scenes partying. Little wonder, then, so many tested positive, including Djokovic, his wife, Gregor Dimitrov (whose diagnosis caused the final to be cancelled), Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki and his pregnant wife.

Djokovic, from Serbia, is one of the world’s most prominent anti-vaxxers. He said he would refuse to play the US Open if organisers made it compulsory for players to be vaccinated should a jab be developed. He is far from alone when it comes to conspiracy theories in southeast Europe. One poll suggests that three in 10 people share similar views...

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