Djokovic Coy About AO – Despite Announcement

Elizabeth Wagner - 28 Nov 2021

Tennis world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has for the first time commented on his participation in next year's Australian Open following an announcement by the organisers of the event confirming that all players will have to provide proof of vaccination.

The Grand Slammer had previously seemed doubtful over whether or not he'd be playing in the event – as well as unwilling to reveal his vaccination status.

Even after Australian Open director Craig Tiley announced this past weekend that players will indeed have to be vaccinated, and not merely be willing to undergo a 2-week isolation period as previously suggested, Djokovic remained skittish regarding his decision.

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Only Jabbed Players Will Play

After months of speculation and to-and-fro, Tiley finally confirmed on Saturday that exemption for quarantined players will not be on the table for 2022. Tiley said it has now been made abundantly clear that any player desiring to enter and compete in Victoria will have to be fully vaccinated.

This means mandatory vaccinations for all players.

Tiley added that the entire playing group now knew the precise rules of the tournament – including Djokovic and his entire team. He also confirmed that all members of staff and support teams would be asked for proof of vaccination – not only the players themselves.

The AO boss said conversations had been had with Djokovic's team and everyone had been made to understand clearly everything that would be expected of them. He said Djokovic knew full well the extent of the conditions he would have to undergo in order to qualify to play.

No Straight Answer From Djokovic

During an interview as recently as last month, the nine-time Australian Open winner announced that he had not made a final decision about competing in 2022. He then went on to tell reporters in Paris that he refused to issue any further comments until such time as a decision had been made.

Djokovic had previously promised to reveal his decision just as soon as a definitive announcement had been made about Victoria and vaccination conditions. Even so, he's remained unwilling to either confirm his participation or his vaccination status.

The general assumption now is that the multiple Grand Slam champion remains undecided about whether or not to undergo vaccination during the off-season. He previously let on that he believed that revealing even something like a vaccination status could mean giving away too much personal information to his rivals.

Daniil Medvedev, too, recently commented on the latest vaccination announcement. Medvedev said what surprised him the most was the long-delayed timing of the announcement.

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