Novak Djokovic says his opposition to vaccinations may get in the way of a return to competitive tennis.
“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,” the world No 1 said in a live Facebook chat with several fellow Serbian athletes on Sunday. “But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision. I have my 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.”
Last month, former world No1 Amelie Mauresmo said the rest of the 2020 tennis season may be wiped out. She added that action should not resume until a vaccine is available for Covid-19, something that most scientists believe is at least a year away.
“International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the 4 corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis,” the two-time grand slam winner said in a widely shared tweet.
Je crois qu’on va devoir tirer un trait sur la saison 2020 de tennis. Circuit international = des joueurs et joueuses de toutes nationalités plus les encadrements, spectateurs et les personnes venant des 4 coins du monde qui font vivre ces événements.
Pas de vaccin=pas de tennis
— AmelieMauresmo (@AmeMauresmo) March 31, 2020
This year’s Wimbledon championships have been cancelled for the first time since the second world war, while the French Open, originally due to start on 24 May, was rescheduled for the end of September, shortly after the end of the US Open.
Djokovic made a flying start to the 2020 season, winning the Australian Open in January for his 17th grand slam title and stretched his winning run to 18 matches before the pandemic brought sports events across the world to a halt.
So far the governing bodies of tennis have suspended all tournaments until 13 July. In addition, the women’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, which had been due to be held in August, will not take place this year.