Novak Djokovic won’t reveal his vaccination status to anyone and has conceded it could have Australian Open ramifications.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic can’t commit to defending his title at next year’s Australian Open in Melbourne after refusing to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against Covid-19
The Victorian government has introduced a vaccine mandate that applies to local professional athletes and while the requirement will not affect international tennis players, Open organisers are likely to make their own rules and limit what unvaccinated players could do.
Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open winner and previously having spoken out against vaccination could find himself unable to get through border controls to attend the opening Grand Slam of 2022.
He said he expected a final decision on vaccination rules surrounding the event in two weeks, after which he’d have to make a decision.
“Things beings as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic told the online edition of Serbian daily Blic.
“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.
“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.
“I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open and I understand the final decision (on Covid-related restrictions) will be made in two weeks. I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.
“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.”
The 34-year-old contracted Covid-19 last year and was widely panned for hosting a party at which a number of other people also contracted the virus.
Djokovic last competed at the US Open, losing to Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final, but said he plans to compete in the Paris Masters, the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin and the Davis Cup before the end of 2021.
Last week Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula told SEN if he “was an ATP or WTA player, I’d be getting vaccinated” because it would give them “the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open with the more minimal restrictions”.
British tennis star Andy Murray said he would “support” any move from the Victorian government to impose harsher quarantine restrictions on unvaccinated players arriving for the Australian Open.
“My understanding is if you’re unvaccinated, you’re still allowed to play, it’s just the rules are going to be different,” Murray told reporters after his loss at the Indian Wells tournament.
“Obviously Australia in particular has been very, very strict over there.
“It’s not to say you can’t play. You just might have to leave a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That’s the player’s choice.
“If the local government puts that in place, then yeah, I would support that.”