Bill Gates comments on Novak Djokovic vaccine stance (VIDEO)
The former world's richest man remarked on the world tennis number one in a BBC interview
Bill Gates has commented on the vaccine stance of tennis world number one Novak Djokovic and the responsibility that he believes the 34-year-old has as a public figure.
Gates has frequently championed the cause of people getting their jabs to defeat Covid and claims to have spent a fortune on vaccine development.
In a wide-ranging interview with the BBC on Thursday, Gates called conspiracy theories about him and his alleged motives behind mass inoculation "crazy" and said it was "awful" to have people yelling at him in the street regarding the matter.
Gates was also asked what he thought of Djokovic refusing to be vaccinated while citing his personal freedom of choice, and whether as a public figure the Serbian tennis star had a wider responsibility than it simply being about what he chooses to put in his body or not.
"Well, being vaccinated helps the community you are in," Gates began.
"They are not perfect in blocking infection, but they do reduce infection. So, it’s unfortunate that somebody’s health concerns are so extreme that they feel they can’t participate in that community protection," the Microsoft co-founder added.
"If they are an inspirational and trusted person, then they are spreading that and it just makes it tougher to get the vaccination levels that we really need.
"So, I admire him in a lot of ways but I wish his views on vaccines weren’t that way," Gates finished.
Earlier this year, Djokovic became embroiled in a visa and vaccine scandal that eventually saw him deported from Australia as he was preparing to defend his title at the Grand Slam in Melbourne.
Arriving Down Under, Djokovic thought a medical exemption would be enough to allow him to contest the Australian Open until a backlash resulted in being detained and forced to appear in court before eventual deportation.
In a February interview also with the BBC, Djokovic said he was "never against vaccination" but has "always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body."
Forced to look on as generational rival Rafael Nadal surpassed him in all-time Grand Slam titles on 21 victories, Djokovic revealed he was prepared to miss more tournaments if needs be.
"The principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else" Djokovic insisted, adding: I'm trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can."
A few months later, Djokovic is free to contest the French Open and Wimbledon after Covid protocols were lifted.
This week, the 20-time Grand Slam winner will take on Hubert Hurkacz in the Madrid Open quarter-finals as he prepares to retain the trophy at Roland Garros on May 22.