Djokovic chooses to lose his grand slam title instead of taking part in the Covid-19 vaccine Photo: REUTERS/Zorana Jevtic
Djokovic, who has opposed a Covid-19 vaccine, was banned from competing at this year’s Australian Open, costing the 34-year-old his chance to become the most successful men’s player of all time with 21 Grand Slam titles.
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The world number one was instead deported from Australia after an 11-day drama involving two visa cancellations, two court appeals and five nights in two detentions at the immigration detention hotel where asylum seekers are being held.
“I understand the consequences of my decision,” Djokovic was quoted as saying by Reuters on Tuesday, adding that he was prepared not to travel to Australia because of his unvaccinated status.
“I understand that not being vaccinated today, I can’t travel to most tournaments at the moment. Yes, that’s the price I’m willing to pay.”
Djokovic hopes to compete for “many more years” but he added that the freedom to choose what he wants to put in his body is more important to him than any title.
However, the Serb has distanced himself from the anti-vaccination movement and said he remains open-minded about receiving the injection.
“I was never against vaccinations,” said Djokovic, adding that he was vaccinated as a child.
“But I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.”