'I have the right': Novak Djokovic doubles down on anti-vax stance

Pictured here, Novak Djokovic posting an Instagram video and in action at the 2020 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic has sparked debate with his controversial anti-vax opinions. Pic: Instagram/Getty

Novak Djokovic has reiterated he is against taking an anti-coronavirus vaccination if it becomes mandatory to travel once the pandemic subsides, but says he's open to changing his mind.

The top-ranked Djokovic said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Tuesday, "Personally I am opposed to the vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be able to travel.

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"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."

A vaccine hasn't been made yet, but some such as Amelie Mauresmo have said the world tennis tours shouldn't restart until there is one.

Djokovic caused a stir in a live Facebook chat with fellow Serb players on Sunday when he said that if a vaccination was compulsory when the tours resume then he "wouldn't want to be forced by someone" to take it.

In his statement on Tuesday, Djokovic said many tennis players and other athletes have asked him for his opinion on this 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 the tennis world," he said.

Djokovic and his wife Jelena advocate natural healing and not vaccinations, and said that like the rest of the world, he was "a bit confused."

"I am no expert, but I do want to have an option to choose what's best for my body," he said.

"I am keeping an open mind, and I'll continue to research this topic because it is important and it will affect all of us."

Prominent Serbian epidemiologist Predrag Kon, a member of the state team fighting the spread of COVID-19, said Djokovic should not have made anti-vaccination statements because of his huge public influence in his native Balkan country.

Djokovic won the Australian Open in January for his 17th grand slam singles title, and the ATP suspended its tour in March because of the global virus outbreak.

Djokovic’s wife hit with ‘false information’ tag over COVID-19 post

The Serb’s wife Jelena landed herself in hot water with Instagram this week after sharing a video containing a widely debunked conspiracy theory about coronavirus.

Just days after her husband revealed his anti-vaccination stance, the tennis star’s wife was hit with a ‘false information’ tag after posting a controversial video to her Instagram page.

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“What are your coronavirus thoughts?” she wrote in the post to her 500,000 followers.

Pictured here, Jelena Djokovic and her tennis star husband, Novak.
Jelena Djokovic has caused a stir with a video containing 'false information'. Image: Instagram/Getty

“Lots of videos going around these days debating the current situation with the #coronavirus, causes, cures, prevention.

“Whoever has time, please check this one out and let me know your thoughts.

“Does anyone recognise who this guy is? Kisses and love.”

The post had received around 1000 comments before Instagram took action, with many labelling Djokovic’s video ‘dangerous’ and ‘shameful’.

Social media sites have been busy cracking down on the spread of misinformation during the pandemic.

And Instagram clearly took exception to Djokovic’s video after ‘independent fact checkers’ deleted it.

Jelena Djokovic's video was deleted by Instagram. Image: Instagram
Jelena Djokovic's video was deleted by Instagram. Image: Instagram

with Yahoo Sport staff