Novak Djokovic ‘willing to pay the price’ of missing tournaments over vaccine

World number one Novak Djokovic has admitted he is willing to miss tournaments if they require a vaccination so that he can remain ‘in tune with his body.’

Djokovic was at the centre of a controversial incident at the Australian Open last month, when his medical exemption was rejected and after a court process, the Serbian was finally exited from the tournament and deported from Australia.

The reasons given at at the time were that the presence of Djokovic in Australia would encourage an anti-vax stance within the country.

The 34-year-old said he wouldn’t formally speak about the incident until after the tournament and has now given an interview with the BBC to clarify details from his side.

Many tournaments, including Grand Slams the French Open and Wimbledon still have a mandatory vaccine rule in place and Djokovic was asked if he would rather miss these than receive the COVID jab.

“Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay,” said Djokovic.

“I say that everybody has the right to choose or act or say or feel whatever is appropriate for them.”

Djokovic said he would forego the tournaments ‘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,” he added.

Despite his personal choice over whether or not to get the vaccine, Djokovic insisted he is not part of the anti-vax agenda and that instead, he was keeping an open mind.

“I have never said I’m part of that (anti-vax) movement,” said the Serbian.

“It’s really unfortunate that there has been this kind of misconception and wrong conclusion based upon something that I completely disagree with.

“I was never against vaccination. 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 is set to return to action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February, a tournament that does not require vaccination.

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