'Doesn't matter': Novak Djokovic hits back over vaccine stance

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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Novak Djokovic (pictured) walking out for the ATP Finals.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) has doubled down on his Covid-19 vaccine stance ahead of the Australian Open. (Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic has doubled down with his claim it is a 'freedom of choice' on whether he has to take the Covid-19 vaccine or not as the Australian Open edges closer.

Djokovic has been at the centre of the Australian Open vaccine controversy considering his immunisation status is unknown.

The World No.1 said last month he was unsure if he would defend his title at Melbourne Park, "things being as they are".

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Victorian government officials have said unvaccinated players will be barred from the tournament.

This prompted, Australian Nick Kyrgios to agree everyone has the right of choice on whether to take the vaccine or not.

And to Djokovic's surprise, he agreed with Kyrgios.

"That was unexpected knowing what was coming from him towards me in the last couple of years," Djokovic said.

"But this time I must agree with him that the freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it's me or somebody else."

"Doesn't really matter whether it's vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body."

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has been bullish about his call to stop unvaccinated athletes entering the country.

Novak Djokovic (pictured) celebrates after defeating Russia's Andrey Rublev at the ATP Finals.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) is yet to reveal his Covid-19 vaccination status. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

He has been more adamant they will not be able to enter Melbourne Park to compete.

Regardless, Djokovic doubled down on his view over the vaccine. 

"I have been always a proponent of that and always a supporter of freedom of choice, and I will be always supporting that because freedom is essential for I'd say a happy and prosperous life," the 34-year-old told reporters in Turin, Italy, where he is competing at the season-ending ATP Finals.

Nick Kyrgios clarifies on Australian Open call

This week, Australian Nick Kyrgios said he wants the Australian Open to go ahead in a safe manner and was forced to clarify comments over whether he wanted the grand slam cancelled or not.

Kyrgios has been a vocal critic of Djokovic in the past, labelling the Serb a "tool" and slamming him and other rival players of flouting Covid-19 rules during the World No.1's ill-fated tour during the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Nick Kyrgios (pictured) reacts during his match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Team Europe on Day 2 of the 2021 Laver Cup.
Nick Kyrgios (pictured) recently spoke about the controversy around the Australian Open. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

In the latest episode of his podcast No Boundaries, however, Kyrgios said he respected Djokovic's vaccination stance, and said no athlete should be forced into getting vaccinated if they don't want to.

"I'm double-vaxxed but I just don't think it's right to force anyone (to get vaccinated)," Kyrgios said.

"(NBA star) Kyrie (Irving), Novak, these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much.

"They're global athletes who millions of people look up to and I just feel like it's so morally wrong to force someone to get vaxxed.

"There's other solutions around it."

with AAP

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