Novak Djokovic has stated that if he is obliged to acquire a coronavirus vaccine in order to compete, he is willing to miss the French Open, Wimbledon, and other tournaments.
The Serbian tennis player said in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday that the freedom to select what goes into his body is “more important than any title, or anything else.”
Mr. Djokovic acknowledged that his vaccination status prevented him from attending “most of the tournaments at the moment,” but said, “That is the price I’m ready to pay.”
Mr. Djokovic’s refusal to be immunized, while being unable to compete in the Australian Open, may cause him to miss out on winning more Grand Slam titles than his competitors. (At the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal, a Spanish tennis player, won a record 21st Grand Slam title.)
Last month, French authorities announced that players competing in the French Open, the fourth of four Grand Slam tournaments, must be vaccinated. Mr. Djokovic may be permitted to compete in Wimbledon in June, but he may not be able to compete in the US Open in August, according to recent criteria.
Mr. Djokovic told the BBC that while he was not opposed to vaccines in general and did not want to be affiliated with the anti-vaccination movement, his decision on the coronavirus vaccine was personal.
“As a top professional athlete, I’ve always carefully studied and assessed everything that comes in from supplements, meals, the water I drink or sports drinks — anything, really, that enters into my body as a fuel,” he said in the Monday interview. “I’ve opted not to take the vaccine as of today, based on all of the information I’ve received.”