The last time he was talked about was January 17. He then left Australian territory, head bowed, after a ten-day legal battle. In an interview with the BBC on Tuesday February 15, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic discusses the controversy surrounding his non-participation in the Australian Open, a consequence of his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
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A month after the facts, the player who is certainly among the best in the history of his sport denies being antivax. “I have never been against vaccination, he assures. I understand that in the world, we are trying to make great efforts to manage this virus (…). But I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body. »
A definitive opposition?
However, he reaffirms his opposition to the Covid vaccine. A position he assumes. Asked about the sacrifice of his participation in major tournaments, notably Wimbledon in the spring and then Roland-Garros, the Serb replied: “Yes, that’s the price I’m willing to pay. “Ultimately, are you willing to give up a chance to become the greatest player to ever hold a racquet? », asks the English journalist. ” Yes “, answers the tennis player.
The world number one also hopes vaccination requirements will change and he will be able to “play for many more years”. He remains open and does not rule out the possibility of a vaccination for him in the future, “because we are all looking, collectively, for the best possible solution to end the Covid”.
The Melbourne Fiasco
In January, the Serb traveled to Australia to play in one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Thinking of benefiting from a medical exemption (he had contracted Covid-19 in December), Novak Djokovic, who maintained the madman around his vaccination situation, was quickly disillusioned once he arrived in Melbourne. Canceled visa, placed twice in detention, multiple passages in front of the courts to challenge the rules in force in Australia, all in ten days only. “I was really sad and disappointed with how it ended for me,” described the player to the BBC.
→ READ. Tennis: Novak Djokovic loses appeal and leaves Australia
“I understand the criticism, I understand that people have come up with different theories about how lucky I was (to have contracted the virus, Editor’s note) or how convenient it was. But no one is lucky or finds it convenient to catch the Covid, he nuances. I take this very seriously. »