Novak Djokovic news: BBC respond to complaints over interview with world No 1

Novak Djokovic in action

The BBC have issued a response to viewer comments over a controversial interview that they held with world No 1 male tennis player Novak Djokovic. 

Djokovic missed the Australian Open last month after he was unable to provide sufficient evidence to be exempt from the COVID-19 vaccine. The Australian government subsequently deported him.

It remains to be seen whether Djokovic will be allowed to play in other majors throughout the year. However, in the interview with Amol Rajan, he did mention that “that’s the price I’m willing to pay” when asked if he is prepared to potentially miss upcoming major events due to his vaccine stance.

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In the interview, Djokovic also told the BBC: “I was never against vaccination, but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.”

As a result of the interview the BBC have come under attack with some accusing them of providing Djokovic with a platform upon which to share his anti-vaccine views.


The BBC have since responded to the criticism.

“The BBC’s exclusive interview is the first time Novak Djokovic has spoken about his position himself, and our news editors judged that the interview was of genuine significance and was of interest to our audience, particularly in light of what unfolded in the build-up of the Australian Open in January,” the public broadcaster said in a statement.

“We appreciate that not everyone will agree with our choice of story running orders, but we consider that this has been a big ongoing news story which also encompasses key issues such as mandatory vaccination and international travel restrictions.”

Their statement went on to add: “There are still many people who choose not to be vaccinated and we think it is important to hear from all sides of the discussion.

“However the BBC has always made clear the scientific and medical consensus on vaccination and its effectiveness, and we have done so throughout our coverage of this story.”