Tennis star Novak Djokovic ready to skip Roland Garros and Wimbledon over COVID-19 vaccine stance

In an on-camera interview with the BBC, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said he was prepared not to play at Roland Garros or Wimbledon because of his stance on vaccinations. Djokovic was embroiled in controversy earlier this year after he attempted to enter Australia without a valid vaccination waiver. The 20-time Grand Slam champion was later expelled, missing the chance to play the Open of Australia. Heading into the first Grand Slam of the tennis season, Djokovic tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam singles titles. In Djokovic’s absence, Nadal won the Australian Open, giving him 21 major singles titles – the most ever in men’s tennis. Djokovic told the BBC, which labeled the interview with the 34-year-old Serb an exclusive, that he has not received any COVID-19 vaccine. “I have never been against vaccination,” Djokovic told the BBC. “I understand that around the world everyone is trying to make a big effort to manage this virus and hopefully see the end of this virus soon.” Djokovic said in the BBC interview that he understood the consequences of his decision not to get vaccinated, explaining that: “I understand that not being vaccinated today I cannot go to the most tournaments at the moment.” “And that’s a price you’re willing to pay?” BBC media editor Amol Rajan asked Djokovic. “That’s the price I’m willing to pay,” Djokovic replied. a racket statistically because you feel so strongly about that jab?” “Yes,” Djokovic said. “Yes.” When asked why, Djokovic replied, “Because the principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I try to be in tune with my body as much as possible. “CNN has contacted tournament organizers for the French Open and Wimbledon for comment. Australian Open saga Djokovic landed in Melbourne on January 5, only to be remanded in custody with his visa canceled because ‘he did not have a valid medical exemption for the vaccination requirement for all arrivals.’ Djokovic’s team argued the 34-year-old tennis star felt he could enter the country because that he had received a medical exemption from the tournament organizers, which was granted on the grounds that he had natural immunity after being infected with COVID-19 in December.Under Australian law, medical exemptions are only granted only to people who can prove they have experienced anaphylaxis after a previous dose, or any component of a vaccine, or are significantly immunocompromised. Djookic did not fit either category. The following week, a judge annulled upset the government’s decision to cancel his visa and ordered his release, allowing Djokovic to return to training for the Australian Open. However, in another twist a few days before the start of the tournament. , Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke chose to revoke Djokovic’s visa again, and the player was returned to custody. -19. In the two-week period that all of this unfolded, Djokovic’s supporters and critics took to the streets of Melbourne – some protesting that his release mocked the sacrifices Australians have made to contain COVID, d Others claiming he had the right to compete .Djokovic’s legal challenge failed the second time around, with three federal court judges unanimously rejecting his claim, saying Hawke’s argument was not irrational . Djokovic left the country soon after.

In an on-camera interview with the BBC, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said he was prepared not to play at Roland Garros or Wimbledon because of his stance on vaccinations.

Djokovic was embroiled in controversy earlier this year after trying to enter Australia without a valid vaccination exemption. The 20-time Grand Slam champion was later sent off, missing an opportunity to play at the Australian Open.

Heading into the first Grand Slam of the tennis season, Djokovic tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam singles titles. In Djokovic’s absence, Nadal won the Australian Open, giving him 21 major singles titles – the most ever in men’s tennis.

Djokovic told the BBC, which labeled the interview with the 34-year-old Serb an exclusive, that he had not received any COVID-19 vaccine.

“I have never been against vaccination,” Djokovic told the BBC. “I understand that around the world everyone is trying to make a big effort to manage this virus and hopefully see the end of this virus soon.”

Djokovic said in the BBC interview that he understood the consequences of his decision not to get vaccinated, explaining that: “I understand that not being vaccinated today, I cannot go to the most tournaments at the moment.”

“And that’s a price you’re willing to pay?” BBC media editor Amol Rajan asked Djokovic.

“That’s the price I’m willing to pay,” Djokovic replied.

Rajan then asked Djokovic: “At the end of the day, are you willing to give up the chance to be the best player to ever pick up a racket statistically because you feel so strongly about that jab?”

“Yes,” Djokovic said. “I do.”

When asked why, Djokovic replied: “Because the principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I try to be in phase with my body as much as possible.”

CNN has reached out to tournament organizers at Roland Garros and Wimbledon for comment.

The Australian Open saga

Djokovic landed in Melbourne on January 5, only to be remanded in custody with his visa canceled as he did not have a valid medical exemption for the vaccination requirement for all arrivals.

Djokovic’s team have argued that the 34-year-old tennis star felt he could enter the country because he had received a medical exemption from the tournament organizers, which was granted on the grounds that he had natural immunity after being infected with COVID-19 in December.

Under Australian law, medical exemptions are only granted to people who can prove they have experienced anaphylaxis after a previous dose, or any component of a vaccine, or who are significantly immunocompromised. Djookic fit neither category.

The following week, a judge overturned the government’s decision to revoke his visa and ordered his release, allowing Djokovic to return to training for the Australian Open.

However, in another twist a few days before the start of the tournament, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke opted to cancel Djokovic’s visa again, and the player was returned to custody.

Hawke argued that Djokovic posed a risk to public health and order and could encourage anti-vax protests, which could further the spread of COVID-19.

In the two-week period that all of this unfolded, Djokovic’s supporters and critics took to the streets of Melbourne – some protesting that his release mocked the sacrifices Australians have made to contain COVID, d others claiming he had the right to compete.

Djokovic’s legal challenge failed the second time around, with three federal court judges unanimously rejecting his claim, saying Hawke’s argument was not irrational. Djokovic left the country soon after.

Comments are closed.