Djokovic Still Unsure About Australian Open

Elizabeth Wagner - 20 Oct 2021

Not only is Novak Djokovic not willing to reveal his vaccination status, but he’s also not yet willing to commit to competing in next year’s Australian Open.

Djokovic revealed during a recent interview that he’s once again concerned about the possible restrictions that may be imposed at next year’s event in Melbourne. As such, whether or not he’ll be competing at the 2022 edition of the event remains very much up in the air for the world No. 1.

Australia has taken a strong stance in containing the spread of infections ever since the global health crisis first hit. After last year’s quarantining of 72 players for a harrowing period of 2 weeks, Victoria Sports Minister Martin Pakula recently issued a statement whereby he strongly encouraged all those intending to play in the first Grand Slam of next year to undergo vaccination. This, said Pakula, would optimise the likelihood of competing in the event without too many restrictions imposed.

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He Might Not Be Permitted

While Victoria has a current vaccination mandate in place for all professional athletes, the state has not yet announced whether overseas players will be required to provide proof of vaccination before entering the country for any future sports events.

If this were to be the case, and chances are good this may prevail into January next year, Djokovic will in actual fact not be able to participate in the tournament should he remain unvaccinated, which many suspect he currently still is.

There’s good reason for this too, as the Serbian has been openly cynical of the vaccine and has in the past even advocated against mandates regulating and/or enforcing the jab.  

Vaccination Status Is Private

Djokovic this year only just missed winning all four Grand Slams in a calendar year. This means he remains in a 3-way tie with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most Grand Slams won.

Still – being a nine-time Australian Open champion makes of Djokovic the reigning odds favourite to win his 21st Major in Melbourne, which would make it a sorry affair if indeed he was made to opt out of the tournament.

If anything, the Serbian appears intent on hiding his vaccination status from the world. He said he regards his vaccination status a “private matter” and knows he’ll attract contention no matter which way his decision goes. He said people tend to go “too far” in judging someone on private matters.

After last year’s 3-week pushback due to quarantine requirements, next year’s AO will be played in its usual slot, beginning January 17.

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