Novak Djokovic in action against Mitchell Krueger of the US at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 15 2019. Picture: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON
Novak Djokovic in action against Mitchell Krueger of the US at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 15 2019. Picture: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON

Belgrade — Novak Djokovic faces a dilemma if it becomes compulsory for players to get vaccinated before they can begin competing once the tennis season resumes after the hiatus created by the coronavirus pandemic, the world No 1 said on Sunday.

“Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine to be able to travel,” Djokovic 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.

“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.”

In March former world No 1 Amelie Mauresmo said the rest of the 2020 tennis season might be wiped out, saying that action should not resume before players can get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

“International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the 4 corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis,” the two-time Grand Slam winner said in a widely shared tweet.

Medical experts have said that vaccines against the respiratory virus would not be ready until 2021, raising doubts whether any further tennis tournaments can be contested this year.

This year’s Wimbledon championships have been cancelled for the first time since World War 2 and the French Open, originally due to be held from May 24-June 7, was rescheduled for September 20-October 4, shortly after the end of the US Open.

Djokovic made a flying start to the 2020 season, winning the Australian Open in January for his 17th Grand Slam title and stretched his winning run to 18 matches before the pandemic brought sports events across the world to a halt.

So far the governing bodies of tennis have suspended all tournaments until July 13.

In addition, the women’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, which had been due to be held in August, will also not take place in 2020.

Reuters

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