Novak Djokovic has broken his silence regarding his vaccination status, as well as the future of his tennis career.
The 34-year-old missed the recent Australian Open, after the Serbian star had his visa canceled and was deported from the country.
Djokovic had not spoken publicly since being deported, nor had he revealed his vaccination status against COVID – until now.
In a sit-down interview with BBC, Djokovic revealed he is not vaccinated, but Denies claims that he is a part of the ‘anti-vax movement’.
“I understand and support fully the freedom to choose whether you want to get vaccinated or not,” he said.
“I have not spoken about this before and I have not disclosed my medical record and my vaccination status, because I had the right to keep that private and discreet.
“As I see, there is a lot of wrong conclusions and assumptions out there and I think it’s important to speak up about that and justify certain things.
“I was never against vaccination, I understand that globally everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus and seeing an end soon – vaccination is probably the biggest effort and I fully respect that.
“I have always represented and always supported the freedom to choose what you put into your body, and for me that is essentially the principle or understanding what is right and wrong.
“As an elite professional athlete, I have always reviewed and accessed everything that comes in – from supplements, food, the water I drink or sports drinks or anything that comes into my body as a fuel.
“Based on all the information I got, I decided not to take the vaccine as of today – I keep my mind open and we are all trying to find the best possible solution to end COVID. No one wants to be in this situation we have been in for two years.
“I say that everyone has the right to choose or act or say whatever they feel is appropriate for them.
“I have never said that I am part of that (anti-vax) movement – no one in the whole process during the Australian saga has asked me on my stance or my opinion on vaccination, so I could not really express what I feel.
“It’s really unfortunate that there has been a misconception or wrong conclusion that has been made around the world, based upon something I completely disagree with.”
Djokovic has now fallen behind Rafael Nadal in the all-time grand slam leaderboard for men, with the Spaniard winning a record 21st title in the Australian Open.
The world No.1 was also quizzed on the future of his tennis career during the interview and admitted he is happy to miss out on records and titles due to his stance, with his ability to play in the French Open and Wimbledon this year up in the air.
“I understand the consequences of my decision and one of the consequences of my decision was not going to Australia,” he said. “I was prepared not to go and I understand that not being vaccinated today, I’m unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment. That’s the price I’m willing to pay.
“The principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I am trying to be in-tune with my body as much as I possibly can.”