Novak Djokovic has again clarified that he is not anti-vaccine but 'a proponent for freedom to choose' as he discussed his upcoming schedule.
Djokovic caused a stir around the world in January when he was caught up in a messy political row over Covid-19 vaccinations that resulted in his deportation from Australia.
He has since been labelled a 'anti-vax poster boy' by prominent US-based journalists - a term which he and his fans contest, and with good reason.
At the moment it is unclear whether him being unvaccinated will prevent him from playing the US Open and Australian Open, although he says he is more hopeful for the latter.
“I’m not going to go to America if I don’t have permission, so the Australian saga for me was not pleasant at all.” Djokovic said.
“People still think I forced my way to Australia and tried to come in with no paper, permission or exemption – it is not true. That was proven on the court case, so I would never go into a country where I didn’t have permission to travel. I would love to come back to Australia. I love Australia, I had my best Grand Slam results in that country.
“Hopefully I can be there in January because I want to be there, and I also want to be in New York. I want to be in America and everywhere I can possibly play. I am a professional tennis player, I don’t go into politics or anything else because that doesn’t interest me.
"I have my stance and I am a proponent for freedom to choose what is best for you. I respect everything and everybody, and I expect people to at least respect my decision. If I have permission, I’ll be there. If I don’t, I won’t be there – it’s not the end of the world.”
It is always worth remembering that whilst 'anti-vax' is an easy term to throw at Novak Djokovic, there seems little real life evidence to support it.
Djokovic organised and paid for Covid-19 vaccinations to be available to anyone who wanted them at his own tennis centre during the Serbian Open last year, and he has not once publicly pushed his own views onto others.
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?