Feb 15, 2022 - Sports

Novak Djokovic says he could skip more Grand Slams over vaccine stance

Novak Djokovic practicing in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 11.
Novak Djokovic practicing in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 11. Photo: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic told the BBC in an interview that he doesn't want to be associated with the anti-vax movement despite choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and sacrificing his ability to compete in the Australian Open last month.

Why it matters: If he skips more Grand Slam tournaments over his vaccine stance, Djokovic risks forgoing a chance at overtaking Rafael Nadal's record of 21 titles. He's currently tied with Roger Federer at 20.

  • In the interview, Djokovic said that he would risk not being able to take part in other Grand Slams, such as Wimbledon and the French Open, over his stance.
  • Billions of people around the world have received coronavirus vaccines, which are safe and effective at preventing serious illness or death from COVID-19.

What they're saying: "Yes, that is the price that I'm willing to pay," Djokovic said when asked whether he will risk not being able to compete in other competitions because of his vaccination status.

  • "I was never against vaccination," he told the BBC, adding that he received vaccines as a child, "but I've always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body."
  • "Because 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," he said.

Go deeper: The Djokovic debacle

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