Australian Open banned for unvaccinated, Djokovic participation in doubt

The tennis player, who is chasing his 21st Grand Slam title, never wanted to reveal whether or not he was vaccinated against covid

Novak Djokovic’s participation in the January Australian Open is in doubt after it was confirmed that all players must be vaccinated in order to compete in the tournament. Djokovic, a nine-time winner in Melbourne, has repeatedly refused to disclose his anti-covid ‘vaccination status’. Tournament Director Craig Tiley said at the official tournament launch: “Everyone on site – fans, staff and players – will need to be vaccinated to participate in this year’s Australian Open. There has been a lot of speculation about Novak’s whereabouts. He has noted and publicly said that this is a private matter. We would love to see Novak here but he knows he has to be vaccinated in order to play. “

Djokovic is chasing his 21st Grand Slam title but seems adamant that he won’t bow to Melbourne’s demands. Speaking this week at the ATP Finals at the end of the season in Turin, Djokovic insisted: “You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body”. Djokovic sparked anger last year when he wrote a letter in preparation for the tournament suggesting that the strict 14-day quarantine rules for top players should be relaxed. In 2020, his charity event in Belgrade ended in a fiasco with some of the best players, including Djokovic, who tested positive following a tournament that seemed to ignore social distancing. Tiley said he has been assured that key players Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will play in Melbourne. Tiley added: “I’ve been on the phone with Serena for the past 48 hours and she’s getting ready to be here in January.”