Djokovic Is Willing to Skip Wimbledon and French Open to Avoid Vaccine

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Novak Djokovic said he was prepared to miss the French Open, Wimbledon and other tournaments if he was required to get a coronavirus vaccine to compete.

In an interview with the BBC that was broadcast on Tuesday, the Serbian tennis star said he believed the freedom to choose what goes into his body was “more important than any title, or anything else.”

Mr. Djokovic said he understood that his vaccination status meant that he was “unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment,” but, he added, “That is the price that I’m willing to pay.”

Mr. Djokovic’s decision to remain unvaccinated, even after he was unable to compete in the Australian Open, may delay his quest to win more Grand Slam titles than his rivals. (The Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal was able to clinch a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.)

The French authorities said last month that players must be vaccinated to compete in the French Open, the next of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Mr. Djokovic might be able to compete in Wimbledon in June, but according to recent guidelines, he may not be able to compete in the U.S. Open in August.

Mr. Djokovic told the BBC that he was not against vaccinations generally and that he did not want to be associated with the anti-vaccination movement, but that his decision about the coronavirus vaccine was personal.

“As an elite professional athlete, I’ve always carefully reviewed, assessed everything that comes in from the supplements, food, the water that I drink or sports drinks — anything, really anything that comes into my body as a fuel,” he said in the interview, which was recorded on Monday. “Based on all the informations that I got, I decided not to take the vaccine as of today.”

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