In an on-camera interview with the BBC, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said he is willing to skip playing in the French Open or Wimbledon because of his vaccination stance.
Djokovic became embroiled in controversy earlier this year after attempting to enter Australia without a valid vaccination exemption.`The 20-time grand slam champion was later deported, missing out on an opportunity to play in the Australian Open.
Before the tennis season’s first grand slam Djokovic was tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 grand slam singles titles. With Djokovic absent, Nadal went on to win the Australian Open, giving him 21 major singles titles — the most all-time in men’s tennis.
Djokovic told the BBC, which labeled the interview as an exclusive with the 34-year-old Serbian, that he has not received any vaccination for Covid-19.
“I was never against vaccination,” Djokovic told the BBC. “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.”
Djokovic said in the BBC interview that he understands the consequences of his decision to not get vaccinated, explaining that: “I understand that not being vaccinated today I’m unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment.”
“And that’s a price you’re willing to pay?” the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan asked Djokovic.
“That is the price that I’m willing to pay,” Djokovic replied.
Rajan then asked Djokovic: “Ultimately, are you prepared to forgo the chance to be the greatest player to ever picked up a racquet statistically because you feel so strongly about this jab?”
“Yes,” Djokovic said. “I do.”