Djokovic hopes vaccine won’t be compulsory

World number one says decision to take jabs should remain players’ private concern

AFP April 24, 2021

World number one Novak Djokovic said Friday he hoped it would not become compulsory for players to be vaccinated against coronavirus and insisted any decision he makes on whether or not to take the vaccine will remain private.

"I am still a supporter of freedom of choice," Djokovic said after reaching the semi-finals of the ATP tournament in Belgrade.

It was in the Serbian capital last summer where Djokovic, as well as a number of other players, tested positive for Covid-19 after organising a controversial exhibition event.

On whether or not he will be vaccinated to guarantee entry to tournaments, 33-year-old Djokovic refused to commit himself.

"I will keep my decision to myself, I think it's a private, intimate thing. I do not want to be labelled as someone who is for or against vaccination," added Djokovic who has expressed his reservations in the past.

"I hope it does not become compulsory."

On court, Djokovic stayed on course for a third Belgrade title with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 quarter-final win over compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic.

Djokovic, the 2009 and 2011 champion at the event which is played at a venue which carries his name, will face Russia's Aslan Karatsev for a place in the final.

In their first meeting, Djokovic broke his 21-year-old opponent's first service game and repeated the feat for a 5-1 lead in the opener.

His only blip was when he was broken as he served for the match at 5-2 in the second set.

However, it was a brief respite for world number 47 Kecmanovic who handed back the break in the next game allowing the top seed to complete a 75-minute win.

"I think personally I'm feeling very well on court, moving well, hitting the ball well and, of course, enjoying the home court advantage," Djokovic said.

"So I'm really excited to go out in the semi-finals on the court again tomorrow."


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