PARIS – Carmaker Peugeot, a sponsor of Novak Djokovic, is glad the tennis star has told his story about his expulsion from Australia and expects its logo to be on his shirt when he competes in Dubai this month, a source close to the Peugeot brand told Reuters.
Djokovic, world number one men’s tennis player, was deported from Australia in January after a standoff over the country’s COVID-19 regulations and his unvaccinated status.
Djokovic’s attempt to compete in the Australian Open without getting vaccinated provoked anger in some quarters – though his supporters rallied to his side – and focused attention on how his sponsors would respond
“We anticipate the Peugeot brand will be represented at the tournament in Dubai on Mr. Djokovic’s shirt,” the source close to Peugeot told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The player spoke for the first time about the Australia affair this week, telling the BBC he was not an anti-vaxxer, but has taken a personal decision not to get the jab, and that he understood that could affect his tennis career.
“Peugeot has taken note of Mr. Djokovic’s statements and is glad that he has expressed himself,” the source said.
Asked about the long-term future of the sponsorship, the source said discussions on relations between the brand and the player were continuing in good faith.
Djokovic is scheduled to compete at the Dubai tournament which starts on Feb. 21, in what will be his first competition on the ATP world tour after the deportation from Australia.
Another Djokovic sponsor, watchmaker Hublot, which is owned by French luxury conglomerate LVMH, declined to comment on its relationship with Djokovic.
A third sponsor, clothing brand Lacoste, did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent on Thursday.