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Djokovic willing to pay price of not playing Grand Slams in order to not get the vaccine

Novak Djokovic says he’s willing to pay the price and miss this summer’s Grand Slams to remain unvaccinated. EPA-EFE/DIEGO FEDELE

By Ricky Dimon

Given the choice between winning more Grand Slam titles and not getting the Covid-19 vaccine, Novak Djokovic says he would choose not getting the vaccine.

It remains to be seen if those two events become mutually exclusive, but if they do then it’s no vaccine and no Grand Slam participation for Djokovic. The world No. 1 confirmed that sentiment in an interview with the BBC on Tuesday.

“Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay,” Djokovic responded when asked about that choice.

The 34-year-old already paid a big price at the Australian Open, where he arrived last month expecting to play after getting a medical exemption from Tennis Australia. The Australian government had other ideas, however, and following a wild 10-day saga Djokovic’s visa was revoked and he was deported a day before the season’s first major began.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia is seen in action during a training session at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, 12 January 2022. EPA-EFE/JAMES ROSS

Adding insult to injury, the 20-time slam champion saw Rafael Nadal break a tie atop the all-time list by winning No. 21.

Djokovic’s status for the French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open is uncertain. He would currently be unable to play at Roland Garros, but vaccination rules in France could change before May rolls around. Wimbledon follows almost immediately thereafter, and athletes have been able to get medical exemptions in Great Britain if unvaccinated depending on various factors. As for the U.S. Open, USTA officials say they will comply with whatever government rules state in late August.

‘The principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else,” Djokovic added. “I’m trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can.

“Based on all the information that I got, I decided not to take the vaccine as of today.”

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.