“Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay,” the Serbian tennis star told the BBC when asked if he would sacrifice participating in competitions like the upcoming Wimbledon and French Open.
“I say that everybody has the right to choose or act or say or feel whatever is appropriate for them.”
Speaking at length for the first time since being deported from Australia, Novak Djokovic sat down with the BBC to explain why he has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus even though he supports vaccines.
Interviewer Amol Rajan asked: “Have you received any vaccination against COVID?”
Djokovic answered: “I have not.”
Why hasn’t he been vaccinated?
“I was never against vaccination. I understand that globally everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus…vaccination is probably the biggest effort that was made on behalf of the planet…and I fully respect that.”
“I’ve always represented and always supported the freedom to choose what you put into your body,”
“It’s really the principle of understanding what is wrong and what is right for you.
“Me as an elite professional athlete, I’ve always carefully reviewed, assessed everything that comes in from supplements, food, the water that I drink, sports drinks, anything really that comes into my body as a fuel.
Novak Djokovic says he would rather skip future tournaments than be forced to get a Covid jab, in an exclusive BBC interview https://t.co/vLNeBvgp0M
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) February 15, 2022
“Based on all the informations that I got I decided not to take the vaccine as of today.”
As of today?
“Yes. I keep my mind open. Because we are all trying to find collectively a best possible solution to end COVID.”
Djokovic also distanced himself from the anti-vaccination movement, despite being deported from Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open last month amid concerns about his vaccine status.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner said he had not had the chance to explain himself during the legal process which played out in Melbourne before his deportation.
“I have never said I’m part of that movement,” he said.
“It’s really unfortunate that there has been this kind of misconception and wrong conclusion based upon something that I completely disagree with.”
Djokovic was asked whether he was prepared to forego the chance to be the “greatest player that ever picked up a racquet” because “you feel so strongly about this jab”.
He said it was a price he was willing to pay, “because the principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title.”
“I’m trying to be in tune with my body,” Djokovic said.”
He added: “I understand the consequences of my decision.
“I understand that not being vaccinated today, you know, I am unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment.”
The 20-time major champion is set to return to competitive action at an ATP tournament in Dubai next week for the first time since he was deported ahead of the Australian Open, the year’s first tennis grand slam.
Another win at Melbourne Park, where Djokovic has won nine titles, could have taken him to a men’s record 21 major wins.
But instead it was his long-time rival Rafael Nadal who nudged ahead by lifting the trophy.
– with AAP
This article was first published on The New Daily. Read the original article here.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.