Novak Djokovic made short work of his compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarterfinals of the Serbia Open on Friday. Djokovic won 6-1, 6-3 to secure his spot in the last four, where he will face either Aslan Karatsev or Gianluca Mager.
In his post-match press conference, Novak Djokovic was quizzed extensively about his views on vaccines and their growing demand amongst the players on the ATP tour. But the Serb took a non-committal stand, asserting that he didn't want to be dragged into the 'sensitive' issue.
Novak Djokovic's opinions regarding vaccinations have often been the subject of intrigue. Understandably, therefore, Djokovic claimed on Friday that he would rather not take sides in the matter. He did, however, stress that people should always have freedom of choice when it comes to using vaccines.
"It's such a sensitive, sensitive topic right now," Djokovic said. "And people are getting very emotional about this. But when it comes to vaccinations, I'm always a proponent of liberty and freedom of choice. So I think this is something right now that I just don't want to get involved in."
"If I say yes or no, I will be drawn into one team," he added. "And then, you know, there's a lot of conflict right now between the people that want to get vaccinated and the people that don't want to get vaccinated because there's a lot of uncertainty out there. So I don't want to answer this question because I don't want to be part of the media campaign in that game, I just don't want."
Novak Djokovic went on to claim that he is "fully against" the ATP making vaccination on tour compulsory. The Serb believes every player should be free to do "whatever they want", and particularly so in the case of vaccines since they could "harm their physical integrity".
"I hope that it doesn't become compulsory; that's the only thing," Djokovic said. "I am saying that clearly and openly right now, because I am fully against that. I think everyone should have the freedom of choice to do whatever they want. Especially if you're harming somebody's physical integrity and their body. There should always be a choice whether you want to get vaccinated or not."
Novak Djokovic made it clear that he is not against the use of vaccines, but he repeatedly stressed on the importance of having 'options'. The World No. 1 claimed that his country (Serbia) has many different options for people to choose from, and that he'd like it if ATP also extended the same facility to the players.
"Well, I'm really glad that the players have options to choose," Djokovic said. "Serbia has has had actually a lot of options in terms of vaccines lately. What I heard from the organisation and my brother, he told me there's a lot of players that want to get vaccinated with different vaccines. There's been there's been a lot of unclarity in terms of whether there's going to be a compulsory mandatory vaccination in order to take part in the debate. I don't think it will come down to that. I hope not, because I'm always a supporter of freedom of choice."
The decision of whether I'm going to get vaccinated or not is an intimate decision: Novak Djokovic
During his press conference, Novak Djokovic was also asked if he himself would take the COVID-19 vaccine. The Serb refused to give an answer to that, saying it was a 'private' and 'intimate decision'.
"And, in our case, the decision whether I'm going to get vaccinated or not for myself, I think it's a it's a private, it's an intimate decision," Novak Djokovic said. "And I don't want to go into this game of a pro and against vaccines, which the media unfortunately is creating nowadays."
Novak Djokovic then once again reiterated that everyone has the 'right' to make his or her own choice on getting the antiviral jab.
"And I am only thing I'm asking for is people to respect my decision to keep the decision for myself," the Serb added. "And that's it. And I have full right to do that. And that's it, you know, whoever wants to get vaccinated, they can get vaccinated. I respect that. And who doesn't want they don't need to."