Novak Djokovic has broken his silence on being kicked out of Australia last month over his anti-vaccination status.
The famous men’s tennis player had refused to publicly reveal his COVID-19 vaccination status until recently.
He confirmed in a tell-all interview with BBC he is not vaccinated against the virus which has brought the world to its knees over the past two years. However, he doesn’t consider himself to be an anti-vaxxer.
“I was never against vaccination,” he told the BBC.
“But I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.”
“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.”
Djokovic was originally granted an exemption to enter Australia despite not being vaccinated, which the Victorian government and Tennis Australia had said was mandatory to play the Open in January.
But the federal government stepped in and sensationally cancelled his visa, before locking him up in hotel quarantine in Melbourne and then deporting him after a failed appeals hearing.
Djokovic was kicked out of the country and Rafael Nadal won the Open, pushing ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer to set a new record for grand slams won.
Djokovic hasn’t spoken publicly about the saga until now, saying he was “really sad and disappointed with the way it all ended for me in Australia,” he said.
“It wasn’t easy.”
His vaccination status has already cost him one major tournament, and now the French Open has said it will also blacklist Djokovic unless he gets vaccinated.
But the world No.1 is prepared to miss grand slams to hold fast in his beliefs.
“Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay,” Djokovic said.
Image: Getty Images
This article first appeared on OverSixty.