Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic has said that he would rather miss out on future tennis trophies than be forced to get a Covid vaccine, the BBC reported on Tuesday.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC, the Serbian said that he should not be associated with the anti-vax movement, but supported an individual’s right to choose.
When asked if he would sacrifice taking part in competitions such as Wimbledon and the French Open over his stance on the vaccine, Djokovic said: “Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay”.
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.
Djokovic said he had obtained a medical exemption to enter the country to play in the Australian Open as he had recently recovered from Covid-19.
“I was never against vaccination… but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body,” Djokovic was quoted by BBC as saying.
Further, Djokovic said that he hopes vaccination requirements in certain tournaments would change, he could play for many more years.
However, 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.”