London – If forced to make a choice, Novak Djokovic said he would leave the French Open and Wimbledon, before he had a chance to surpass Rafael Nadal’s record of 21 Grand Slam titles, instead of being vaccinated against him.. And he’s still smart about being the No. 1 ranked tennis player. In a play about his vaccination status that polarized worldwide opinion.
Speaking in one Interview aired by the BBC on TuesdayThe 20-time Grand Slam champion said he had not yet been vaccinated and was willing to sacrifice the title to stay that way.
If need be, Roland Garros and not defending his title at Wimbledon and losing other tournaments is “the price I am willing to pay,” said the 34-year-old Serb, whose comments have sparked controversy among some opponents. Can further enhance the status. Of vaccination.
Djokovic said he was not opposed to the vaccine, and sought to distance himself from anti-vaccination campaigners: “I never said I was part of the movement.”
But he said that “everyone has the right to choose, to act or to say what they think is appropriate” and that they believe in “choosing what you put into your body.” Freedom of speech. And, for me, it’s important. ”
“I’m trying to be as consistent with my body as I can,” he said, adding that he was always careful about everything he ate. “Based on all the information I have, I have decided not to take the vaccine until today.
“I understand the consequences of my decision,” Djokovic said. “I don’t think I’m getting vaccinated today. You know, I’m unable to travel to most tournaments at the moment.”
Asked if he would be willing to miss the French Open in May, he reiterated: “This is the price I am willing to pay.”
Asked if he was ready to leave Wimbledon, he added: “Yes.”
“Because the principles of decision-making are more important to my body than any title or anything,” he said.
Djokovic has won the French Open twice, including in 2021, and has six Wimbledon titles, including the last three.
Nadal won this year’s Australian Open, which gave him a bigger title than Djokovic and Roger Federer. Djokovic was deported before he could play.
Djokovic went back in detail to the BBC’s deportation drama and expressed his displeasure at how it turned out.
“What people may not know is that I was not deported from Australia on the grounds that I was not vaccinated, or that I broke any rules or that I made a mistake in my visa declaration,” he said. ” “The reason I was deported from Australia was because the Minister of Immigration used his discretion to cancel my visa based on his idea that I could create some anti-wax sentiment in the country or city. , Which I do not fully agree with. ”
The story began when Djokovic was exempted from the strict vaccination rules for playing by two medical panels and Tennis Australia. The exemption, based on evidence that he had recently recovered from COVID-19, apparently allowed him to obtain a visa to enter Australia. But upon arrival, border officials said the exemption was not valid and he had been transferred to deportation.
Subsequent questions raised the question of whether Djokovic was unfairly treated or excluded unfairly because of his celebrity status.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I have never used my privileged position to enter Australia or do anything in the whole process.
A court initially ruled that Djokovic could stay, but Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who has broad powers, later decided to deport him. The government said its presence could provoke anti-vaccine sentiment.
Djokovic told the BBC: “I think there has been a lot of frustration on the part of the Australian people towards me and the whole situation and how to deal with it. “I would like to say that I have always followed the rules.”
His threats to release the next two majors could prove false.
New rules enacted in England last week allow non-vaccinated people to be tested before and after their arrival.
Vaccination rules in France could change in the months before Roland Garros, possibly allowing Djokovic to play. The country has begun easing some of its health and travel restrictions as the highly contagious Omicron has recovered from a record increase in various infections.
The French government last week set a time frame in late March, early April, to eliminate its vaccine requirement, which would put non-vaccinated athletes at risk of losing the French Open. Is.
Since Tuesday, anyone who has not been vaccinated against the corona virus will have to test positive for COVID-19 within the last four months – under the last six months – to enter sports venues in France. Evidence must be shown. French law, which works on the premise that you have some protection against the virus if you have recently been infected, aims to prevent such people from entering stadiums, restaurants, bars and other public places. ۔
Djokovic has previously said he had a positive experience in mid-December. If the four-month condition is upheld, they are likely to be eliminated from the French Open until they receive the vaccine within four months of the start of the Clay Court Grand Slam on May 22 or re-test positive.