Tennis: Heckler tells Novak Djokovic to 'get vaccinated, mate' during Australian Open third-round win

Novak Djokovic has continued his battle with spectators at the Australian Open, after a heckler told the reigning champion to "get vaccinated, mate" during his third-round victory.  

As the world No.1 served for the match against Argentinian 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Djokovic had to take a moment, after a member of the crowd was heard yelling.  

Djokovic, 36, immediately pulled out of his service routine and walked towards the crowd, before returning to seal his win.  

Novak Djokovic in action at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic in action at the Australian Open. Photo credit: Getty Images

The incident comes two days after similar scenes in the second round, when Djokovic told a fan to "say it to my face", after another taunt from the crowd.  

Throughout the first week of the Australian Open, Djokovic has been open about feeling unwell.

"I haven't had a COVID test," he said. "It's kind of a regular viral infection that I've been through.

"Now it's in its last stages. I still have some secrete coming out, that's all it is."  

Djokovic has been a strong opponent to forced vaccination, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also opposed vaccine mandates within tennis.  

In January 2022, Djokovic was deported from Australia over his refusal to be vaccinated and missed the chance to defend his title.   

Djokovic has won four of the past five Australian Open men's singles titles, with the only exception being 2022, over his refusal to be vaccinated.  

In August 2022, Djokovic was also unable to compete at the US Open, while still refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.