Novak Djokovic news: Serbian breaks silence as he insists he is willing to miss Wimbledon and French Open
In his first wide-ranging interview since he was deported from Australia, Novak Djokovic has doubled down on his refusal to be forced to take a Covid-19 vaccine, saying he is willing to miss out on big titles such as Wimbledon and the French Open.
The world No 1 was unable to defend his Australian Open title in January after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his personal powers to cancel his visa on grounds that he could stoke anti-vaccination sentiment in the country.
On the back of Rafael Nadal claiming the title at Melbourne Park to go to 21 Grand Slams, there was talk from Djokovic’s autobiographer Daniel Muksch that he could get vaccinated.
However, in an interview with the BBC – which will be broadcast on February 15 – it became clear that he is not willing to get inoculated against Covid-19 just yet, although he did distance himself from anti-vax movements.
When asked if he would be willing to skip tournaments such as Wimbledon and the French Open over his stance on the vaccine, he replied: “Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay.”
He added: “I was never against vaccination, but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.”
It is believed that most tennis tournaments around the world will adopt a vaccination-only player policy in the coming months, but Djokovic is hopeful that he “can play for many more years”.
He also admitted that he is would stick to his guns even if it means he falls short in the race for the most Grand Slam titles.
Asked why, he replied: “Because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I’m trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can.”
Last year Djokovic bought a majority stake in Danish biotech firm QuantBioRes with the hope of finding a cure.
He told the BBC that he is “keeping [his] mind open” about the possibility of being vaccinated in the future, “because we are all trying to find collectively, a best possible solution to end Covid”.
“I was never against vaccination. I understand that globally, everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus and seeing, hopefully, an end soon to this virus.”
The 34-year-old initially had his Australian visa approved after he tested positive for Covid-19 in mid-December with the believe that a positive test would be good enough to enter the country, but there was speculation both over the timing of his positive test and the validity of his certificates.
“I understand that there is a lot of criticism, and I understand that people come out with different theories on how lucky I was or how convenient it is,” he said.
“But no-one is lucky and convenient of getting Covid. Millions of people have and are still struggling with Covid around the world. So I take this very seriously, I really don’t like someone thinking I’ve misused something or in my own favour, in order to, you know, get a positive PCR test and eventually go to Australia.”
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