World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has said he will not defend his Wimbledon or French Open titles if the tournaments require mandatory vaccination for competitors. The Serbian tennis star said in an interview with BBC News that not getting a COVID-19 vaccine is more important to him than competing in the tournaments.

“I understand that not being vaccinated today, I’m unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment. That is the price that I’m willing to pay.

Djokovic added:

“The principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I’m trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can.”

Novak Djokovic, who is considered one of the fittest and healthiest athletes in the world, has said he is willing to skip playing in the French Open or Wimbledon over his vaccination status.

The French Open and Wimbledon are two of the four tournaments that make up tennis’ Grand Slam. The other two tournaments are the Australian Open and the U.S. Open.

Djokovic is tied with Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles and second only to Rafael Nadal who has 21.

Nadal won his 21st Grand Slam when Djokovic was barred from playing in the Australian Open for allegedly not having a valid COVID-19 vaccination exemption. He was deported from Australia as the tournament began.

Asked by the BBC interviewer if he is prepared to forgo the chance to be the greatest player ever over his vaccination status, Djokovic answered resolutely: “Yes”.

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