Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 ranked tennis player in the world, says he would be opposed to a compulsory vaccination against COVID-19 if players were required to take it before tennis can resume.
“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 said in a Facebook live chat on Sunday.
“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.”
Last month, Amelie Mauresmo — a former top-ranked player in the world — tweeted that “no vaccine = no tennis.”
At this time, neither the ATP nor WTA tours have suggested a mandatory vaccine would be necessary as part of a return-to-play strategy.
The current tennis season has been suspended until at least July 13 due to the COVID-19 crisis. At the beginning of April, Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II and the French Open has been postponed until September.
Scientists around the world are searching for vaccines and treatments to stem the impacts of COVID-19, with clinical trials underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.
As of Monday morning, the novel coronavirus has sickened more than 2,358,000 people, according to a database of official counts maintained by the New York Times. At least 60,000 people have died, and the virus has been detected in at least 177 countries.