Djokovic doesn't want to be forced into taking COVID-19 vaccination

Djokovic doesn't want to be forced into taking COVID-19 vaccination

Speaking with fellow Serbian athletes on Facebook live, the world No. 1 said his matter on the subject could change, but for now, opposes the likely future mandate.

Throughout the past few days, Novak Djokovic has been an open book when answering questions during a series of social media chats.

After co-hosting entertaining sessions with Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, the world No. 1 organized a Facebook live discussion Sunday with Serbian athletes, including fellow tennis players Dusan Lajovic, Filip Krajinovic and Viktor Troicki, and former pro Janko Tipsarevic. During their dialogue, Djokovic disclosed his stance on the likelihood of athletes undergoing mandatory immunization before returning to competition.

“Personally, I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said in a translated quote. “But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision. I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.”

The ATP and WTA are currently suspended through July 12, though some tournaments beyond that date have already been cancelled due to local restrictions. With Wimbledon already off the calendar for 2020 and the French Open pushed back to September, attention has turned to the USTA, who will make a decision by mid-June on staging the US Open.

“Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet,” said Djokovic.

Over the weekend, Patrick Mouratoglou announced his intention to launch the Ultimate Tennis Showdown next month, while the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy has opened its facilities for players to train and possibly hold exhibition matches. There are also reports of an exhibition series taking shape for a May 1 start in Germany. The ATP’s Tennis Integrity Unit responded by issuing a memo, reminding its players that anti-corruption rules still apply.