World No 1 Novak Djokovic has spoken about freedom of choice over taking the COVID-19 vaccine, saying: “You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body”
Last Updated: 18/11/21 10:52am
Novak Djokovic has reiterated his stance about freedom of choice over taking the COVID-19 vaccine as questions grow over his participation at the Australian Open.
Nick Kyrgios said on his podcast this week that he was “double-vaxxed” but did not think it was right to force anyone, let alone athletes, to get vaccinated.
Government officials of the state of Victoria, where the major takes place in Melbourne, have said unvaccinated players will be barred from the tournament.
World No 1 Djokovic has repeatedly declined to disclose his vaccination status and said last month that he was unsure if he would defend his title at Melbourne Park.
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Responding to the comments from Kyrgios, the Serbian said: “That was unexpected knowing what was coming from him towards me in the last couple of years.”
“But this time I must agree with him that the freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it’s me or somebody else,” the 34-year-old told reporters in Turin, where he is competing at the season-ending ATP Finals.
“Doesn’t really matter whether it’s vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body.”
Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews said he would not apply for permits to allow unvaccinated athletes to enter the country.
“I have been always a proponent of that and always a supporter of freedom of choice, and I will be always supporting that because freedom is essential for I’d say a happy and prosperous life,” added Djokovic, who has won a record nine Australian Open crowns.
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Djokovic secured a semi-final place at the ATP Finals with victory over Russian Andrey Rublev on Wednesday, his 50th match win of the year.
The Serbian, looking for his sixth title at the season-ending event, currently tops the Green Group standings with a 100 per cent record.