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HomeAfricaDjokovic vaccine row: 'It's his choice' - Jabeur

Djokovic vaccine row: ‘It’s his choice’ – Jabeur

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur is playing in Dubai this weekAfrica’s leading tennis player Ons Jabeur has defended Novak Djokovic’s choice to not have the Covid-19 vaccine – but says she hopes he changes his mind.Tunisian star Jabeur says Djokovic has every right to make such decisions.”It’s his choice. He follows a certain diet with food and whatever he puts in his body [is up to him],” Jabeur told the BBC from Dubai where she is playing this week.”For me, I respect what he is doing. If he’s doing it, he’s doing it fully – he knows that his health is more important. I’m not really surprised, since we know how far he took it at the Australian Open.”Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam winner, was deported from Australia last month after the government cancelled his visa in a row over his vaccine status. He arrived in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday ahead of the Dubai Tennis Championship, his first event since leaving Australia. The UAE does not require visitors to be vaccinated to enter the country but there are strict testing protocols in place.Djokovic told the BBC that he should not be associated with the anti-vax movement, but supported an individual’s right to choose – a stance that Jabeur agrees with. “Coming here, I feel like I respect his decisions and it’s his choice – his human right.”Djokovic confirmed he was willing to miss future tournaments and forego the chance to become statistically the world’s greatest player, if he was forced to take the jab. But Jabeur says the tour would miss him if he chose not to play. “Hopefully he will change his mind. He has said he will keep his mind open – hopefully he will change his mind and keep breaking records.”I want him to be back on tour. I want him to be playing. He is such a great player, and an inspiration for many, many players.”Jabeur, seeded 8 in Dubai, was set to face former world number one, Simona Halep, in the quarter-finals on Thursday. “Like so many people, I of course had [the vaccine], but I did my research, I talked to my doctors and got the vaccine. Now I’m able to travel and protect the people around me,” Jabeur confirmed. “It’s a very difficult time. I don’t want to judge anybody. Whatever he [Djokovic] thinks is right, is right – after all, it’s his body. “He does whatever he wants with it. Other people get vaccinated, and you should respect their choices. And that’s how it is. “It’s very difficult times – I don’t think these times should separate us. We should always remember that we are all human beings.”

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