World number one Novak Djokovic says he could be forced into a corner over his anti-vaccination beliefs if players are required to take compulsory measures against coronavirus to compete once the season resumes.
Serb Djokovic is currently in lockdown with his family in Marbella, Spain, as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
The men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours have been suspended until at least July 13, while Wimbledon has been canceled altogether and the French Open pushed back to September. US Open chiefs are still debating whether to go ahead with the tournament, which is scheduled to start in August.
There are fears however that the season could be written off completely, given the global nature of the tour and range of anti-coronavirus measures from country to country.
Throwing more potential problems into the mix, Djokovic said that he would face a conundrum if players are asked to have a Covid-19 vaccination, should one become available.
“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,” Djokovic, 32, said in a Facebook chat, as reported by Reuters.
“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.”
Reports vary on when a vaccine could become available, with optimistic scenarios stating one may even be ready for use in essential cases by the summer. However, official estimates in countries such as the UK and US have tended to put the timeframe at 12-18 months before a vaccine is ready for use on a mass scale.
A fellow tennis pro facing a potential dilemma once the season resumes is Ukrainian women’s world number five Elina Svitolina.
The 25-year-old said in a YouTube chat at the weekend that she would be wary of competing in China – the source of the pandemic – for the next two years.