LONDON (AP) — Novak Djokovic said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that he is prepared to skip the French Open and Wimbledon if vaccination against the coronavirus is required for him to play.
Speaking to the BBC, the 20-time Grand Slam champion said he is not vaccinated and added that missing the next two majors, where he is the defending champion, and other tournaments is “the price that I am willing to pay.”
“I understand the consequences of my decision,” Djokovic said. “I understand that not being vaccinated today, you know, I am unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment.”
The 34-year-old Serb said he is not opposed to vaccinations but believes in “the freedom to choose what you put into your body. And, for me, that is essential.”
“I am trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can,” he said, adding that he has always been careful about everything he ingests. “Based on all the information that I got, I decided not to take the vaccine, as of today.”
Asked if he would be prepared to miss the French Open in May, he said: “That is the price that I am willing to pay.”
Also asked if would be ready to skip Wimbledon, he added: “Yes.”
“Because the principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else,” he said.
Djokovic has won the French Open twice, including in 2021, and has six Wimbledon titles, including the last three.
Djokovic, however, distanced himself from anti-vaccination campaigners. Some claimed him as their hero when he was deported from Australia in January. That followed his losing bid to stay in the country to defend his Australian Open title despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I have never said that I am part of that movement,” Djokovic said, adding “everyone has the right to choose, to act, or say what ever they feel is appropriate for them.”
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