Novak Djokovic has spoken for the first time after his deportation by the Australian government due to a visa mix-up and his anti-Covid-19 vaccination stand.
Speaking to BBC in a wide-ranging interview, he says that as far as immunization goes, he is not opposed to it. However, he won’t hesitate to walk away from Wimbledon or French Open championships if he is forced to get Covid-19 vaccination.
He says that all he has done is fight for freedom of what goes to his body.
What Does Novak Djokovic Think About Covid-19 Vaccination?
“I was never against vaccination, but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body,” says Djokovic.
He is resolute that he will not defend his Wimbledon and French Open titles this season if he is forced to get vaccinated.
The 20-time Grand Slam Champion explains that everyone must have a right to choose what they feel is appropriate for them.
“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.”
Despite being deported from Melbourne before the Australian Open last month, Djokovic distanced himself from the anti-vaccination movement.
However, he said he is open-minded about vaccination in the future because he understands the world is looking for a solution to end the pandemic.
“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.
On the other hand, Djokovic addressed questions regarding the timing of his positive Covid case, in December.
He remarks that he hopes the tournaments will modify the rules so that he plays for many more years.
What Was Life Like For Novak Djokovic While in Detention?
Recalling an 11-day standoff with Australian Border Officials that saw him spend days at a detention centre, he described it as hard.
“It was very, very hard. While I was still at the airport, I couldn’t use my phone for three, four hours. I was lost, really, I didn’t know what was happening.”
He was later allowed to contact his family while still in detention.
The Serbian was allowed to practice while he awaited a court hearing on his deportation. But he say this was not the typical training days that he would regularly have ahead to a Grand Slam competition.
Helicopters flew overhead throughout every training session at Rod Laver Arena, and cameras were set up all over. His coworkers and those in the tennis facility looked at him funny, and he knew it. It affected him badly.
And certainly, he was aware that they had formed their impression based on media reporting.
Due to the respect for the legal process and the Australian Open, Djokovic did not go public with his thoughts about his opponent.
However, he felt compelled at the time to address the crowd and provide an explanation.
Was Testing Positive For Covid-19 Good Timing For Novak Djokovic?
Djokovic also addressed rumours concerning the Australian Open’s schedule in January.
A few have argued that the timing of Djokovic’s positive Covid case in mid-December was a coincidence that allowed him to be granted a medical exemption for the tournament.
When people come up with their own beliefs about how lucky he was or how handy it was, he realizes that it’s understandable.
Djokovic, on the other hand, claims that no one willfully wants to test positive for Covid-19. The virus has affected millions of people throughout the world.
The 34-year-old says this is something he takes extremely seriously because of the consequences.
This is besides the fact that it would completely be unacceptable for him to be accused of using something for his own benefit in order to get entry into the country of Australia.
VISA MIX-UP WAS NOT DELIBERATE
An Australian panel accepted his request for a medical exemption, which was lodged anonymously. Errors were made on another form of documentation, the one for trip declaration.
He says this was not deliberate adding that the Federal Court and the Ministry for Immigration in Australia accepted it.
But, he chides Alex Hawke, the immigration minister for deporting him saying that he did so in exercising his powers.
“So actually, what people probably don’t know is that I was not deported from Australia on the basis that I was not vaccinated, or I broke any rules or that I made an error in my visa declaration. All of that was actually approved and validated by the Federal Court of Australia and the Minister for Immigration.
“The reason why I was deported from Australia was that the Minister for Immigration used his discretion to cancel my visa based on his perception that I might create some anti-vax sentiment in the country or in the city, which I completely disagree with.”