The world’s No. 1 men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic is “opposed to” having a coronavirus “vaccination” in the event that it is made compulsory before he plays a tennis game.
Djokovic, the 32-year-old Serbian star who has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, was speaking with a group of Serbian players on a live Facebook chat when he made the comment.
“Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said in comments reported and translated Sunday by Reuters. “But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision. I have my own thoughts about the matter, and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.”
In a statement released Monday through his management team, Djokovic declined to address whether he opposed vaccines in general. He focused his opposition on the issue of whether a Covid-19 vaccination, which has not been developed yet, would be necessary for travel. He also made it clear that he was intent on exploring options other than vaccination, but he did not rule out accepting one if necessary.
“I am no expert, but I do want to have an option to choose what’s best for my body,” he said. “I am keeping an open mind, and I’ll continue to research on this topic because it is important and it will affect all of us.”
He added: “To be honest, just like the rest of the world I am a bit confused. Despite having access to information and resources, I am left in doubt about what could be the best thing to do.”
Djokovic is staying in Spain with his wife, Jelena, and their two children during the lockdown.
Tennis tournamens around the world have been shut down since March because of the virus and will not resume until July 13 at the earliest
Wimbledon has been canceled for the first time since 1945, and dozens of tournaments have been postponed, including the French Open, which was scheduled to be the next Grand Slam tournament, in May.