Novak Djokovic refuses to reveal Covid-19 vaccination and could miss Aussie Open
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has painted a dire picture for World No.1 Novak Djokovic if he refuses to get vaccinated ahead of the Australian Open.
Djokovic couldn’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 having previously spoken out against vaccination, could find himself unable to get through border controls to attend the opening Grand Slam of 2022.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Andrews shared the difficulty Aussie Open players could face if they remain unvaccinated, if they can get into the country at all.
“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country,” Andrews said.
“If they did get a visa, they’d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks when no other players will have to.
“AFL players have to be vaccinated, but they’re Aussies, they’re not coming from other countries.
“I don’t think any other tennis player, or golfer, or Formula One driver, will even get a visa to get here.
“Professional sport is part of that authorised worker list and they have to be double dose vaccinated.”
The mandatory two weeks of quarantine was widely criticised by players earlier this year including Djokovic, who sent a now infamous letter to tournament director Craig Tiley asking for special treatment for players.
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.”
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.”
Originally published as Novak Djokovic refuses to reveal Covid-19 vaccination and could miss Aussie Open
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