Novak Djokovic would rather give up further opportunities for great tennis success than be vaccinated against the corona virus.

That's what the 20-time Grand Slam tournament winner said in a BBC interview.

The 34-year-old was asked if he would sacrifice attending Grand Slam tournaments like the French Open or Wimbledon because of his stance on vaccination.

"Yes, that's the price I'm willing to pay," said the Serb.

"I was never against vaccinations," said Djokovic, explaining that he had been vaccinated as a child.

But he wants the freedom to choose what goes into his body.

However, Djokovic also said that he could imagine getting vaccinated in the future "because we all have to try together to find the best possible solution to end Covid".

After being expelled from Australia, Djokovic returns to the tour next week at the tennis tournament in Dubai.

Djokovic, who was not vaccinated against Covid-19, had to leave Australia the evening before the start of the Australian Open in mid-January.

The record champion of the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne failed with an appeal against the cancellation of his visa before the federal court.

Strict corona rules apply in Australia, in principle only people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus are allowed to enter the country.

Djokovic wants to "play for many more years"

World number one Djokovic said he received a medical exemption to enter Australia to play in the Grand Slam tournament because he had recovered from Covid.

In Melbourne, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal had won the Australian Open and, with his 21st Grand Slam title, overtook Djokovic and the Swiss Roger Federer at the top of this ranking.

He hopes that the Covid regulations will change in future tournaments and that he will then "be able to play for many more years," said Djokovic.

He is ready and strong enough to statistically become the greatest tennis player of all time and to surpass Nadal, who has just been successful at the Australian Open.

For this goal it is extremely important to listen to your body, assured Djokovic.

This principle is more decisive for his further career on the tennis court “than any title or anything else.

I try to be in harmony with my body as much as I can.” In order to stay fit and healthy, he has always dealt intensively with the topics of wellness, health and nutrition.

For example, he changed his diet and his sleeping times with a view to his performance.