Novak Djokovic refuses to defend Wimbledon title if mandatory Covid jabs required

The Serbian is set to return to action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which begin on February 21

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Tennis megastar Novak Djokovic has said he will not defend his Wimbledon or French Open titles if the tournaments require mandatory vaccination for competitors.

“Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay,” the world number one said when asked if he would sacrifice participating in the competitions.

“I say that everybody has the right to choose or act or say or feel whatever is appropriate for them.”

The 34-year-old, who is not vaccinated against Covid-19, said he would forego the tournaments “because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else.

“I’m trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can,” he said.

Djokovic distanced himself from the anti-vaccination movement, despite being deported from Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open last month amid concerns about his vaccine status.

He said: “I have never said I’m part of that movement.

“It’s really unfortunate that there has been this kind of misconception and wrong conclusion based upon something that I completely disagree with,” he added.

He said he was “keeping [his] mind open” to the possibility of getting vaccinated in the future “because we are all trying to find collectively, a best possible solution to end Covid”.

“I was never against vaccination. I understand that globally, everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus and seeing, hopefully, an end soon to this virus", he told the BBC.

The Serbian is set to return to action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which begin on February 21.