World No. 1 Novak Djokovic says he hopes Covid-19 vaccines will not be mandatory for tennis players on tour.
Speaking to reporters during this week’s Serbia Open, the 33-year-old insisted he wouldn’t reveal whether he gets a vaccine in the future and hoped receiving a jab would not be made compulsory by the sport’s governing bodies. “I don’t think it’ll come to that. I hope not, because I’ve always believed in freedom of choice,” Djokovic said, per Reuters. “And I will keep the decision as to whether I’m going to get vaccinated or not to myself,” he said. “It’s an intimate decision, and I don’t want to go into this game of pro and against vaccines, which the media is unfortunately creating these days.
“I don’t want to be labeled as someone who is against or who is for vaccines. I’m not going to answer the question … and hope that everyone will respect that.” Djokovic’s comments come after the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said vaccinated players would not be classified as close contacts to those who tested positive for the virus, meaning they would be less likely to suffer disruption during competitions. Both the ATP and the women’s World Tennis Association (WTA) recommended players receive a vaccination when offered.
Djokovic tested positive for coronavirus last year after an exhibition event he organized in Croatia. The Serbian has previously said he would oppose a compulsory vaccination but has since said he would wait for more clarification from the ATP over its protocols. Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year to claim his 18th grand slam title. He also broke Roger Federer’s all-time record for most weeks spent as the men’s world No.1.