Tennis star Novak Djokovic has revealed he’s an anti-vaxxer and says he would have to seriously consider his decision if he was required to be vaccinated in order to compete. The men’s tennis world number one made the surprising revelation during a live Facebook stream on Sunday, alongside a host of other Serbian athletes.
“Personally, I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” he said. “But, if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.”
Djokovic added: “I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.
“Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Wimbledon Championships were cancelled for the first time since World War II earlier this month, while the French Open has been postponed until September 20. In response to the virus, players around the world have suggested all competitors should be vaccinated when the sport starts up again, provided a vaccine against Covid-19 is available by then.
Former world number one Amelie Mauresmo tweeted last month: “International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the 4 corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis.”
Many people threw their support behind the tennis superstar though, and voiced their own opinions on the controversial topic.
One commentator wrote: “Yes! Thank you @DjokerNole for being brave enough to speak out about this! Mandated medicines are a slap in the face to our bodily autonomy and medical freedom.”
While another added: “I agree. I will not be forced to take one, therefore I won’t take one, because I don’t want to take one.” While a third wrote: “Djokovic is smart. No way I’m taking that vaccine, either.”
However others disagreed and pointed out that Djokovic’s decision not to be vaccinated could heavily impact others, with one person writing: “It affects others so there’s not really an alternative. If you won’t take vaccines, stay home.” Meanwhile, another added: “Well, don’t get one then.”
Before the spread of Covid-19, Djokovic got off to a strong start to the 2020 season, having bagged his 17th grand slam title after winning the Australian Open in January.
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