Novak Djokovic said he would rather never receive another tennis trophy than get the COVID-19 vaccine, the BBC reported Tuesday.
The tennis star specified that he did not wish to be associated with the anti-vaccine movement but supported an individual’s right to decide whether to receive the shot.
“I was never against vaccination, but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body,” Djokovic told the BBC.
#novakdjokovic the greatest tennis player of all time is not willing to be coerced into taking that jab and will not take it in order to enter french open or Wimbledon if they require it. #THEGOAT pic.twitter.com/eUPRScODmo
— Gillian McKeith (@GillianMcKeith) February 15, 2022
Djokovic was deported in January from Australia while trying to participate in the Australian Open, a major tennis tournament, for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, personally cancelled his visa for the second time. The first time Hawke revoked Djokovic’s visa it was reinstated by Judge Anthony Kelly. Hawke claimed it was in the “public interest” to cancel it a second time. (RELATED: ‘Throw Him The F*ck Out’: Howard Stern Says Novak Djokovic Should Be Banned From Tennis)
Djokovic explained to the BBC why he was willing to forego possible trophies rather than get the vaccine, saying, “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.”
While Djokovic said he was “keeping [his] mind open” regarding the efficacy of the shot, he explained that the decision not to get the shot was a personal one. Djokovic said he has “always been a great student of wellness, wellbeing, health, nutrition.” (RELATED: Star Athlete Forced To Go Home After Being Held At Airport Over Vaccine Exemption)
The French sports ministry announced in January that they will not make an exception for Djokovic at the French Open in May. French lawmakers are considering passing a law that requires the vaccine for most activities in the country.