Why is Novak Djokovic unvaccinated? What tennis star has said about Covid jabs
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Over the past week the eyes of the sporting world have been fixed on the dispute between men’s world No 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic and the Australian Government. The Serbian has today had his travel visa revoked for a second time after initially winning an appeal to have it reinstated. The dispute relates to Djokovic’s Covid vaccination status. So, why has he not been jabbed?
What is Novak Djokovic’s vaccination status?
Last October he told the Serbian Newspaper Blic: “I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not.
It is a private matter… that is an immoderate question.”
But while Djokovic has never publicly revealed his vaccination status it’s believed the 34-year-old has not received a Covid jab, as his initial application for an Australian visa was based on a medical exemption.
Why is Novak Djokovic unvaccinated?
In the past, Djokovic has taken issue with what he views as attempts to force him to take a Covid vaccine.
In a Facebook Live chat with other Serbian athletes in 2020 he said he “wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel”.
He said: “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.”
In a separate interview with the New York Times before the start of 2020’s US Open, Djokovic again reiterated that his issue with vaccines “is if someone is forcing me to put something in my body”.
He said: “That I don’t want. For me that’s unacceptable. I am not against vaccination of any kind, because who am I to speak about vaccines when there are people that have been in the field of medicine and saving lives around the world?
“How are we expecting that to solve our problem when this coronavirus is mutating regularly from what I understand?”
Readers should note that at the time both sets of comments were made there were no Covid vaccines in circulation within the world.
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What’s this all about?
Last week Djokovic flew to Australia to compete in 2022’s edition of the Australian Open – the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events held each year.
He arrived with a medical exemption relating to him contracting Covid on December 16 last year.
Throughout the pandemic, Australia has enforced some of the strictest Covid rules in the world.
The Victoria state Government has mandated all players, staff and fans attending the event must be fully vaccinated unless there is a genuine reason why an exemption should be granted.
Djokovic’s subsequent medical exemption prompted fury from many Australians who felt the Serbian was receiving preferential treatment from officials.
On Thursday (January 6) morning he was detained at a hotel after his visa was cancelled following scrutiny of the medical exemption he had secured.
However, several days later, a judge in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia overturned the visa cancellation, ruling the tennis star had not been given enough time to speak to his lawyers before the decision was made.
Until Friday, Djokovic had been training every day when it was announced by the Immigration minister Alex Hawke that he would be using his powers under a different section of the law to send him home “on health and good order grounds”.
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