Djokovic could miss future titles over COVID vaccine issues
Novak Djokovic has said he would rather miss out on future tennis trophies than be forced to get a Covid vaccine. World Number 1 told the BBC that he should not be associated with the anti-vax movement, but supported an individual's right to choose.
Djokovic was asked if he would sacrifice taking part in competitions such as Wimbledon and the French Open over his stance on the vaccine. "Yes, that is the price that I'm willing to pay," he said.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner was deported from Australia last month after the government cancelled his visa in a row over his vaccine status.
"I was never against vaccination," he told the BBC, confirming that he'd had vaccines as a child, "but I've always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body."
Djokovic said he hoped vaccination requirements in certain tournaments would change, adding that he was hoping that he "can play for many more years".
But he also confirmed he was willing to forego the chance to become statistically the greatest male tennis player of all time because he felt so strongly. Djokovic's rival, Rafael Nadal, has won 21 Grand Slam singles titles - the most of any male competitor.
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."
He said he was "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."