Novak Djokovic unmoved after latest vaccine setback: 'It's a price I'm willing to pay'

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The former world number one is back in Australia, a year after he was deported from the country after his visa was revoked by the Australian government. Djokovic has made it clear that he will not be vaccinated against Covid-19, even though it means he missed a host of key tournaments last year and his nightmare is set to continue. After the US Transportation Security Administration confirmed on Wednesday that they will continue to impose a policy that insists on all foreign visitors are vaccinated against Covid, Djokovic is set to miss the ATP 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami in March. He could also be blocked from playing in events later in the year, including the US Open. That could mean he is denied the chance to compete for 10,000 ranking points in 2023, which would make it almost impossible for him to retain the world No 1 ranking. He could also miss out on the chance to add to his haul of major titles by missing the US Open, but he has told reporters that he is comfortable with his decision which ensures his vaccine nightmare will continue. "I don't think there's anything official yet, so when it is we can speak about it," Djokovic told reporters on Thursday, as he was quizzed on the US stance on vaccines. "I mean, if it is official then it is - what can I do? Nothing. "You know my position, so it is what it is. I'm hoping (to play), but if I can't go, I can't go." When asked when he had opted to decline a Covid vaccine last year, Djokovic made it clear that he was content with his decision and would not be changing. "That is the price that I'm willing to pay," Djokovic said when asked if he would sacrifice participating in the competitions. "I say that everybody has the right to choose or act or say or feel whatever is appropriate for them. "The principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. "I'm trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can. "I understand that there is a lot of criticism, and I understand that people come out with different theories on how lucky I was or how convenient it is." Djokovic's devoted fans have been quick to hit out at the prospect of their hero missing a large section of the tennis calendar for a second successive year. Yet their protests are likely to fall on deaf ears, with Djokovic not certain to be put back into tennis exile as he will be a notable absentee from the first big ATP 1000 events of the year.

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