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Novak Djokovic defends anti-vaxxer stance as Andy Roddick questions view

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has defended his highly controversial anti-vaxxer stance but former world No. 1 Andy Roddick questionned whether the current top-ranked tennis player would stick by those beliefs if it meant he would miss out on competing in Grand Slams.

 

 

Djokovic astonishingly said he was ‘opposed’ to ‘being forced’ to receive a coronavirus vaccination on Sunday – something that could see him unable to compete on the ATP Tour in the immediate future.

And he has defended that position, despite coming in for heavy criticism with mass vaccinations considered considered vital to the prevention and eradication of Covid-10.

Novak Djokovic

‘Personally I am opposed to the vaccination against Covid-19 in order to be able to travel. But if it becomes compulsory, I will have to make a decision whether to do it, or not. This is my current feeling, and I don’t know if it will change, but it really influences my profession,’ Djokovic said in a statement.

‘Many tennis players, athletes have reached out to me asking what my opinion is on this whole situation. 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.

Novak Djokovic

‘To be honest, just like the rest of the world I am a bit confused. Despite having access to information and resources, I am left in doubt about what could be the best thing to do.

‘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…

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray

‘I would like to know more details about the whole process, before making right decisions.

‘I am curious about wellbeing and I am going to spend the whole lifetime learning about body and how we can empower our metabolism to be in best shape to defend against imposters like Covid 19.

‘My fullest respect and gratitude goes to all the noble and compassionate medical people who are giving support to the ones that need it the most.

‘I am 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.’

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic smile

Dr Scott Ratzan, founder of the International Working Group (IWG) on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions outlined why anti-vaxxer views can be so damaging, saying: ‘We need a vaccine.

‘However, the vaccine is only effective in preventing the disease if we have appropriate vaccine uptake,’ says Dr Scott Ratzan, founder of the International Working Group (IWG) on Vaccination and Public Health Solutions.

‘If people do not take the vaccine and we do not have exposure to a level that would have overall community ‘immunity’ we could have a resurgence in cases of Covid-19 or the next coronavirus.’

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic smile

Should Djokovic refuse to get vaccinated, he could run the risk of falling further behind to great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time Grand Slam charts, with the French Open and US Open still, for the time being, scheduled to take place in 2020.

It’s a near-certainty that players will need to be vaccinated in order to compete on the tour this season and former US Open champion Roddick is not sure whether the 17-time major winner will stick by his beliefs if it involves skipping Grand Slams.

‘I don’t have to agree with someone’s belief system to respect the fact that they have it,’ he told Tennis Channel.

Roger federer and Andy Roddick

‘The bottom line is not whether or not he believes in vaccinations, it’s what safest to bring tennis back to the forefront on a global stage. And that is going to be with testing that’s going to be with vaccination that’s going to let us get back to what we know as normal.

‘So, again Novak said this himself. I don’t have to agree with his stance. He knows that he’s going to have a decision to make.

‘I’ll be curious to see how deep his belief system runs if he’s gonna to sit out Grand Slams because he doesn’t want to take a vaccination shot.’

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Djokovic’s wife Jelena has also had hugely controversial views brought to light.

A post promoting a wild 5G conspiracy theory – a theory that was said to have ‘no scientific basis or credible evidence’ by Ofcom – was taken down by Instagram, with independent fact-checkers saying claims provided were ‘false’ and ‘factually inaccurate’.