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The Djokovic circus allows us to see all our Covid prejudices being played out

With its breadth of opinions, the tennis locker room is society in miniature

Stefanos Tsitsipas learned to listen to Covid science the hard way. Not the really hard way, of course. Not the hard way that more unfortunate vaccine-resisters have experienced, after they’ve ingested conspiracy theories about side effects and regurgitated social media promises that there’s no risk to the young and healthy. The world’s No 4-ranked tennis player didn’t, mercifully, find himself laid low by the virus or on a ventilator in hospital – he just found himself publicly rebuked by his own government.

While Tsitsipas’s father-cum-coach, Apostolos, gave interviews claiming that “athletes have a strong enough immune system to deal with any challenge”, Greece’s government spokesman was pointing out that a 23-year-old tennis player, however successful in his field, had “neither the knowledge, nor the studies, nor the research work” to offer valid opinions on vaccination. The story had a happy ending, though: Tsitsipas did indeed stop spouting poorly informed conjecture and got himself jabbed.

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