Uzbek tennis player Denis Istomin has backed Novak Djokovic's anti-vaccine stance as he thinks every player should decide whether he wants or not take a corovirus vaccine. In April, 17-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic said he was opposed to coronavirus vaccination as he would have to think what to do if taking a vaccine becomes compulsory.
Istomin, ranked at No. 156 in the world, claimed the biggest win of his career in 2017 when he stunned record eight-time Australian Open champion Djokovic at Melbourne Park. "Let them accuse me too then! I agree with Novak!
There cannot be a compulsory vaccine – every person should be able to decide whether they want to get vaccinated or not," Istomin told Ubitennis. Djokovic and fellow Big Three group members -- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal -- suggested the creation of a player relief fund to support the lower-ranked players during the coronavirus pandemic.
Istomin, a former world No. 33, thinks it's a great initiative and the Big Three have once again proved that they represent tennis in the best possible way. "I think it is a great idea, because this is a very difficult time for all tennis players, especially those with low ranking who do not have a chance to play the Slams and the ATP tournaments – certainly, many of them are considering giving up professional tennis.
I hope that the money pledged through the Fund will help motivate them to keep playing," Istomin said.
Denis Istomin weights in on Dominic Thiem's comments
Shortly Djokovic proposed that each top-5 player donate from $5,000-30,000 on a sliding scale to support the player relief fund, Thiem said he was opposed to the proposal as he thinks most lower-ranked players aren't fighting enough to succeed.
"I haven’t played Futures for quite some time, but anyway everyone is entitled to their own opinion! Surely, there are players who are not always 100% committed! Likewise, there are many players who work very hard and do not have enough money to travel to and play in those tournaments.
Perhaps, these players do not even have a chance to be accompanied by a coach, given that the Futures prize money hasn’t increased by much in the last 20 years. I cannot say I fully agree or disagree with that statement.
Both viewpoints make sense. The only thing I didn’t like much was that Dominic’s statement was public – he should have discussed the matter with the ATP or with the players beforehand," Istomin said. Denis Istomin, 33, is now mainly playing on the Challenger Tour.