Novak Djokovic admitted he was surprised to receive Nick Kyrgios's backing over his stance that COVID-19 vaccination should not be mandatory. The Serb also reinforced his position on the importance of freedom of choice regarding vaccination, or "anything else in life".
Djokovic has repeatedly declined to reveal his vaccination status, leading to uncertainty over whether he will defend his title at the Australian Open in January. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews recently doubled down on his stance that his government would not be applying for exemptions to allow unvaccinated players to enter the region for the event.
On a recent episode of the No Boundaries Podcast, Kyrgios revealed he has been vaccinated but feels it is "morally wrong" to force someone to have the jab. The Australian named Djokovic and NBA star Kyrie Irving as athletes who should have control over their decisions due to what they have sacrificed for their respective sports.
Australian-born Irving has missed the start of the NBA season over his refusal to reveal his vaccination status.
Kyrgios' support for Djokovic is surprising considering the comments he has made towards the Serb in the past. At this year's Australian Open, Kyrgios said he does not like Djokovic "at all", while the Serb responded by saying he does not have "much respect" for the Australian.
Speaking at a press conference at the 2021 ATP Finals, Djokovic revealed his surprise at hearing Kyrgios' comments and suggested this is a rare matter on which the pair see eye to eye. The World No. 1 also elaborated on why he feels freedom of choice is so vital in life.
"That was unexpected, knowing what was coming from him towards me in the last couple of years (laughs)," Djokovic said. "But this time, I must agree with him that the freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it's me or somebody else."
"Doesn't really matter whether it's vaccination or anything else in life," Djokovic added. "You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body. I have been always a proponent of that and always a supporter of freedom of choice, and I will be always supporting that because freedom is essential for I'd say a happy and prosperous life."
Novak Djokovic chases history at 2021 ATP Finals
Novak Djokovic secured a berth in the last four of the 2021 ATP Finals after downing Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday. The 34-year-old's victory in his first clash with the Russian ensured he will top the Green Group in Turin.
Djokovic is chasing a sixth ATP Finals crown, which would move him level with great rival Roger Federer's record at the event. The Serb will face alternate Cameron Norrie in his final round-robin match on Friday.