Howard Stern's Random Feud With Tennis Star Novak Djokovic Explained

Novak Djokovic has been making headlines for the better part of the last two decades thanks to his record-shattering tennis skills. Now in his mid-30s, the world's No. 1 tennis player Djokovic is not slowing down his game (via ATP). But the Serbian pro has also raised eyebrows for some of his scientifically dubious beliefs on health. A staunch proponent of natural healing, Djokovic expressed resistance to surgery following an injury in 2018 before opting to undergo it, The New York Times reported. "Every time I thought about what I did, I felt like I had failed myself," he told The Telegraph (via Yahoo! Sports). 

Given his previous stances on Western medicine, many were unsurprised when Djokovic expressed antivaccination beliefs in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, per The New York Times. Djokovic is now embroiled in global controversy as he fights to participate in the Australian Open, whose host country requires foreigners to show proof of vaccination upon entry. In early January, Novak Djokovic flew into Melbourne after receiving a special exemption by Tennis Australia because he fell ill with COVID-19 in December 2021, according to CNN

But Australian authorities denied the tennis star entry nonetheless, reporting that he "failed to provide appropriate evidence" to justify the exemption, according to The Guardian. A judge later sided with Djokovic, who is currently waiting for a final decision that will determine whether he will be allowed to compete, per NPR. The issue has divided public opinion, with many pundits weighing in — including Howard Stern.

Howard Stern believes Djokovic should be expelled from tennis

The world seems divided on whether Novak Djokovic is within his rights to compete in a country that requires proof of inoculation despite being unvaccinated. Howard Stern knows exactly whose side he's on — and he didn't mince the foul language while sharing it. "The joker, I call him the joker, what a f**king a**hole," Stern said making a pun on the pronunciation of Djokovic's last name during his Sirius XM show on January 11. Stern believes Djokovic's actions amount to selfishness and unawareness of his privilege, traits that should disqualify him from ever playing in professional tennis leagues again. "They should throw him right the f**k out of tennis. That's it. Goodbye," Stern said, while throwing some extra adjectives Djokovic's way, calling him a "douchebag" and a "f**knut."

He may have been referencing his own previous statement about Aaron Rodgers, whom Stern heavily criticized in November 2021 when the Green Bay Packers quarterback admitted to not having received the COVID-19 shot after previously declaring he was "immunized" in an interview, Rolling Stone reported. "If there was decency in this world, I would throw this guy out of the football league so fast," Stern said at the time.

In both cases, Stern argued vaccination doesn't fall under "private decision" because it's a matter of public health. "That's like saying smoking is a private decision, well, that's true, but don't smoke in my face," Stern said on his January 11 show.