Tennis champion Novak Djokovic is apparently anti-vaccine.
Djokovic, ranked No. 1 in men’s singles worldwide, revealed he’s “opposed to vaccination” during a livestream with fellow Serbian athletes shared Sunday on Facebook.
In talking about the coronavirus pandemic, Djokovic said he would have to contemplate whether he’d get vaccinated against the virus if a vaccine is developed.
“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,” said Djokovic.
“But, if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.”
The five-time Wimbledon winner went on to say that he has his “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 said to his fellow athletes.
Vaccines have helped save millions of lives and researchers are racing to develop one against the coronavirus. Numerous studies have debunked notions that vaccines cause autism or other chronic illnesses ― unfounded claims that have propelled the anti-vaccination movement.
A spokesperson for Djokovic said later that the star is “opposed to the vaccination against COVID19 in order to be able to travel.”
“Many tennis players, athletes have reached out to me asking what my opinion is on this whole situation,” the spokesperson, quoting Djokovic, said in a statement to HuffPost. “I have expressed my views because I have the right to and I also feel responsible to highlight certain essential topics that are concerning tennis world.”
Djokovic went on to say that he is “a bit confused” about how the pandemic will affect him and the sport, according to the statement. “Despite having access to information and resources, I am left in doubt about what could be the best thing to do,” he said.
“My job requires lots of travel, some are saying that for us who travel, we would have to take the vaccine that is yet to be developed. Therefore, I would like to repeat and point out that at this moment we do not have adequate information. We don’t know if there will be new measures, which of them will be taken, will we have a choice to decide on our own what to do or not with the vaccine.”
He said he knows he is “no expert.”
“But I do want to have an option to chose what’s best for my body. 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,” he said.
Prior to the livestream, it wasn’t widely known that the tennis great opposed vaccinations.
The reaction on social media was varied, with many criticizing Djokovic:
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