December 9, 2021

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open participation in doubt over Covid-19 vaccine rules

Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open participation in doubt over Covid-19 vaccine rules
World number one Novak Djokovic has indicated that he could skip the 2022 Australian Open after it was made clear that unvaccinated athletes will not get a visa to travel Down Under. The first Grand Slam of the year is scheduled to get underway on Jan. 17 after this year's edition was pushed back a…

World number one Novak Djokovic has indicated that he could skip the 2022 Australian Open after it was made clear that unvaccinated athletes will not get a visa to travel Down Under. The first Grand Slam of the year is scheduled to get underway on Jan. 17 after this year’s edition was pushed back a number of weeks to allow players to complete their 14 day quarantine.

Victoria has been on a strict three-month lockdown, which is close to being lifted, but the state’s Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated that unvaccinated athletes are likely to be rejected entry. While he did mention Djokovic, he made it clear that the policy holds true for any athlete looking to enter the country.

“(The virus) doesn’t care what your tennis ranking is, or how many Grand Slams you’ve won. It’s completely irrelevant. You need to be vaccinated to keep yourself safe and to keep others safe,” Andrews said during a media briefing, as quoted on Reuters.

“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country and if they did get a visa they’d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks,” he added.

In light of Australia’s strict rules, Djokovic has revealed that he could skip the Australian Open next year. The Serbian star was unwilling to divulge his vaccination status suggesting that it was a very personal matter, one that he was not keen to talk about.

“Things beings as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic said, as quoted on Tennis 365. “I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.”

“People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person. Whatever you say ‘Yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it’, they will take advantage.”

The 20-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion won his third consecutive and ninth overall title at the Australian Open in 2021. Djokovic made it clear that he is keen to play his favourite major, but admitted that it will depend on the situation, which he said that his manager is handling by being in regular contact with the Australian tennis authorities.

“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful Grand Slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated,” the world number one added.

“My manager, who is in contact with the Australian Tennis Federation, tells me they are trying to improve the conditions for everyone, both for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.”

Novak Djokovic
Chairman of the board! Novak Djokovic holds the winner’s trophy in front of the honours board and points to his name
AELTC/Thomas Lovelock/POOL

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