It is being suggested that players should be vaccinated against coronavirus when the sport resumes and worldwide travel returns.
Personally, I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel Novak Djokovic
The fact that at present, there is no vaccination, is immaterial but the sports resumption may well hinge on that eventuality with some boffins saying it is just months away, or at worst, by the end of the year.
Should vaccination of players become compulsory, Novak Djokovic has stated he would not accept the ruling.
The world number one said: “Personally, I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.
“But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision. I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point I don’t know.
“Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet.”
He made the comments whilst discussing the current situation with fellow Serbian players during a Facebook Live conversation.
However, Dr Pedrag Kon, a prominent Serbian virologist and a member of the Government’s Coronavirus task force, has taken the star to task.
“As one of Djokovic’s most loyal supporters, I wish I had had the opportunity to make him familiar to the significance and immense contribution of immunizations to the health of the population,” the doctor wrote on Facebook.
“It’s late now, he’s created misconceptions, so there’s no more help here. Maestro, I wish you all the best, but you should avoid direct answers to the vaccination-related questions because you have a huge impact.”
Nonetheless Djokovic retains his views and issued a statement via the New York Times with his management team pointing out that their client has always been one to look at alternative medicines.
“I am no expert, but I do want to have an option to choose what’s best for my body,” Djokovic said. “I am keeping an open mind, and I’ll continue to research on this topic because it is important and it will affect all of us.”
“To be honest, just like the rest of the world I am a bit confused. Despite having access to information and resources, I am left in doubt about what could be the best thing to do.”
His religious beliefs may well be contributing to his dilemma. A devout member of the Serbian Orthodox Church he declared in 2011 “before being an athlete, I am an Orthodox Christian” and has received the Church’s highest award, the Order of St. Sava.
Currently the tours have been suspended until July 13 with the US and the postponed French Opens, open for business though the organisers of the former are set to review the situation mid-June. Whether any of those events are actually played is still up in the air, considering the number of people involved with putting on the tournaments and fans who sit in close proximity.