Djokovic told the BBC, which described the interview as exclusive with the 34-year-old Serb, that he had not received any vaccinations for Covid-19.
“I have never been against vaccination,” Djokovic told the BBC. “I understand that globally, everyone is trying very hard to deal with this virus and we hope to see an end to this virus soon.”
Djokovic said in an interview with the BBC that he understood the consequences of his decision not to be vaccinated, explaining that: “I understand that not being vaccinated today I am unable to travel to most tournaments at the moment.”
“Is this a price you are willing to pay?” asked BBC media editor Amol Rajan Djokovic.
Djokovic replied, “That’s the price I’m willing to pay.”
Then Rajan Djokovic asked, “In the end, are you ready to give up the chance of being the greatest player ever to pick up a racket statistically because you feel so strong about this punch?”
“Yes,” Djokovic said. “I do.”
When asked why, Djokovic replied, “Because the principles of deciding on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I try to be in tune with my body as much as I can.”
CNN has reached out to the organizers of the French Open and Wimbledon for comment.
The epic Australian Open
Djokovic arrived in Melbourne on January 5, only to be placed in temporary custody with his visa revoked because he did not have a valid medical exemption for the vaccination requirements for all arrivals.
Djokovic’s team argued that the 34-year-old tennis star was under the impression he could enter the country because he was given a medical exemption from tournament organizers, which was granted on the grounds that he had natural immunity after contracting Covid-19 in December.
Under Australian law, medical exemptions are only granted to people who can prove they have experienced anaphylaxis after a previous dose, any component of a vaccine, or significantly compromised immunity. Djokovic didn’t fit either category.
The following week, the judge reversed the government’s decision to revoke his visa and ordered his release, allowing Djokovic to resume training at the Australian Open.
However, in another development just days before the tournament kicks off, Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke opted to revoke Djokovic’s visa again, and the player was brought back into custody.
Hook argued that Djokovic posed a danger to public health and order, and could encourage anti-extremism protests, which could help spread Covid-19.
During the two-week period as all of this unfolded, Djokovic’s supporters and critics took to the streets of Melbourne – some protesting that his release had ridiculed the sacrifices Australians had made to contain Covid, while others argued that he had a right to contest.
Djokovic’s legal challenge failed the second time around, with three federal court judges unanimously rejecting his request, saying Hawke’s argument was not unreasonable. Djokovic left the country soon after.