Novak Djokovic ‘prepared to miss Wimbledon and French Open’ if he is forced to have COVID vaccine

Novak Djokovic has said he would rather not play at Wimbledon and the French Open than be forced to receive a COVID vaccination.
But the men’s world number one tennis player, who missed last month’s Australian Open because he had not been vaccinated, has said he is not against vaccines and had them as a child.

The Serbian, 34, said missing the next two Grand Slam tournaments, where he is reigning champion, “is the price that I’m willing to pay”.

Image: Novak Djokovic leaving Australia after his visa was revoked
He told the BBC: “I was never against vaccination… but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.
“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.”

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Djokovic said he had “always been a great student of wellness, wellbeing, health, nutrition,” and that his decision had been partly influenced by the positive impact that factors such as changing his diet and his sleeping patterns, has had on his abilities as an athlete.

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He said he was “keeping [his] mind open” about the possibility of being vaccinated in the future, “because we are all trying to find collectively, a best possible solution to end COVID”.
The 20-times Grand Slam winner was deported from Australia after the government cancelled his visa in a row over his vaccine status.
Djokovic said he had a medical exemption to enter the country to play in the Australian Open as he had recently recovered from COVID-19.

Image: Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his ninth Australian Open title in 2021
But the country’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, personally cancelled his visa, on the grounds that his presence could cause “civil unrest” and encourage anti-vaccine sentiment.
If he were to play and win the French Open and Wimbledon, starting in May and June, he would become statistically the greatest male tennis player of all time with 22 Grand Slam victories, overtaking Rafael Nadal, who has 21 after winning in Melbourne.
As it stands, only one of the next two Grand Slams, will let him, as an unvaccinated person, compete.
Last month, French lawmakers approved new rules requiring anyone wanting to enter sports arenas and other public venues to have been vaccinated against coronavirus.
But France’s head of COVID strategy, Professor Alain Fischer, said last week those rules could be scrapped by the “end of March, start of April”, before the tournament begins at Roland-Garros.
Wimbledon organisers are less specific and the tournament website states visitors are subject to common COVID rules.
The guidance in England currently means some venues where large crowds gather or are in close contact may choose to check the COVID-19 status of attendees and the workforce.
This could be done by showing you are fully vaccinated, have taken a recent PCR or lateral flow test, or have a medical exemption.
The Lawn Tennis Association and the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which runs Wimbledon, were contacted for comment.

Source : Sky News