“You can’t make this up.”
They are the pitch perfect words of one fan reacting to a piece of blatantly obvious irony surrounding Novak Djokovic during the US Open final.
Djokovic beat Russian Daniil Medvedev in three sets to achieve a record-equalling 24th grand slam title at Flushing Meadows on Monday morning (AEST).
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The win comes in Djokovic’s first appearance back in New York after a two-year hiatus from the last grand slam of the year due to COVID-19 vaccination restrictions.
The Serbian tennis legend has been resolute in his refusal to receive a vaccination against the disease, despite the implications his decision has.
It meant he was unceremoniously and dramatically deported from Australia in January 2022 ahead of the Australian Open, and has been banned from entering the USA to compete in the US Open since 2020.
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With restrictions now eased, Djokovic was able to return to America in 2023 where he lifted the US Open trophy for the fourth time.
But the terrible irony was not lost on fans when they noticed a glaring detail in ESPN’s coverage of Djokovic’s win over Medvedev.
The American broadcaster had a segment called ‘Shot of the Day’, the final entry of which featured one of Djokovic’s forehands on match point.
Novak Djokovic was awarded the Moderna Shot of the Day. Credit: US Open
If the double entendre of the segment’s name wasn’t ironic enough, its sponsor topped it off — Moderna, the manufacturer of one of the most widely administered vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, to be clear, the unvaccinated Novak Djokovic was given the Moderna Shot of the Day.
The American broadcaster sighed in disbelief before he had to deliver the credit on air.
“We’ll take you to the Moderna Shot of the Day,” he said.
“It was the match point to get to (grand slam) No.24.
“There were a lot of shots that were highly impactful, but here’s the final one.”
Photographers capture the moment as Novak Djokovic lifts the 24th grand slam trophy of his career. (EPA PHOTO) Credit: EPA
Video of the moment, which also showed Djokovic walking past a Moderna sponsorship sign inside the stadium, was predictably flooded with comments from incredulous fans.
“You can’t make this up,” one said.
“One of the most accomplished athletes on the planet who refused the COVID vaccine, has the Moderna Shot of the Day. Novak Djokovic wins his 24th Slam of his career!”
Another added: “Novak Djokovic, who got kicked out of the US Open last year for not being vaccinated, won the US Open title today as well as the ‘Shot of the Day’, which is sponsored by Moderna. The irony is too real.”
A third simply said: “The Moderna ‘shot’ of the day at the US Open. Irony is dead.”
The list goes on and on.
“Oh … my … God … is this real?? ‘Moderna shot of the day’ featuring Djokovic!! Peak irony! Even the announcer groaned like he knew he was about to be a part of something absolutely ridiculous!”
“This is unreal. Djokovic’s game winning shot was sponsored by … Moderna. Reminder: he was deported from the Australian Open and banned from the US Open because he refused the jab. ‘There were a lot of shots that were highly impactful’.”
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