Novak Djokovic reveals he's an anti-vaxxer, fears compulsory Covid-19 vaccine could end his tennis career
'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'
Novak Djokovic has revealed that he does not like vaccinations, which may put his career at risk once the sport restarts after the pandemic subsides. In a live Facebook chat, the 32-year-old tennis superstar admitted his opposition to any vaccination against the COVID-19 if it was made mandatory for tennis players for the game to recommence.
“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. But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision,” the world No 1 said on Sunday, April 19.
“I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don't know. 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,” Djokovic added.
This comes after Amelie Mauresmo, a former women's tennis world number one, called for the remainder of the 2020 tennis season to be withdrawn. “I think we're going to have to draw a line under the 2020 tennis season. International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the four corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis,” she tweeted in March.
She tweeted it because the US Open in the summer still has not been canceled and the French Open has bee merely postponed.
This has been the first time since World War II Wimbledon has been canceled. The French Open has also been postponed until September.
In related news, Djokovic along with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal has come forward to try and launch efforts to provide financial relief to lower-ranked players. The trio has sent a letter to the top 100 players and urged them to help support a fund created to help those struggling in the sport's lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Serbian player, who heads the ATP's Player Council, has asked the players to donate on a sliding scale of between $30,000 (£24,000) for the top five to $5,000 (£4,000) to those below No 50. The idea behind this fundraiser is to try and pay out an initial $10,000 (£8,000) to male players ranked between 250 and 700 since most of them are left with nothing much after all the expenses are taken into account.
“Many of them are considering quitting professional tennis because they simply cannot survive financially. Unfortunately, there are a very large number of players in the group between 250th and 700th place who are not supported by the federations or who have no sponsors,” the letter sent to his peers read.