Novak Djokovic has stated that he will not participate in the Australian Open
Novak Djokovic is still unsure about competing in the Australian Open, stating he’ll wait for final confirmation on travel and admission criteria before committing to defending his championship at Melbourne Park.
Unvaccinated players would be allowed to compete in the Open if they spent two weeks in quarantine, according to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
But, like unvaccinated fans, Victoria Premier Dan Andrews slammed the door shut, saying that unjabbed athletes would not be permitted into Melbourne Park.
Djokovic has refused to share his vaccination status despite testing positive for COVID-19 last year. As a result of the rise of coronavirus outbreaks, Victoria has imposed a vaccination requirement for professional athletes.
When questioned about his chances of competing in the Open on Sunday in Paris, Djokovic sounded noncommittal.
In his first press conference since losing in the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev in September, the world No. 1 and nine-time Open winner remarked, “Well, I’m going to determine whether I travel to Australia or not when I see the official announcement from Tennis Australia.”
“Right now, we don’t have any official announcement or statement. So until that’s out, I won’t be talking about this anymore, because I don’t want to be part of the stories about the assumptions and what-ifs.
“When official condition requirements to travel to Australia and play in Australia are out, then obviously I’ll see what I personally do with that, and also the bigger group of the players, you know because the situation is obviously different in Australia than most parts of the world.”
After organizing a charity event in Serbia in 2020 with no social-discrimination safeguards in place, a number of players, including the 20-time grand slam champion himself, tested positive for the virus, Djokovic was obliged to apologize.
Djokovic is returning to the Paris Masters this week with the goal of becoming the year-end No. 1 for a record eighth time.
“The year-end No. 1 is on the line between Medvedev and myself,” he said.
“So that’s obviously the goal for the end of the season, other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team.”
Medvedev, who finished second to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open final, remained tight-lipped about his participation at Melbourne Park. While eager to play, the Russian refuses to reveal whether or not he has been vaccinated.
“I always said it, that I really like Novak’s answer about this. No matter if it’s about the vaccine, leg injury, head injury … I want to keep my medical private for a reason,” Medvedev said on Sunday.
“I feel like tennis is such a brutal sport where you’re always one on one against your opponent, and any information you give him can go against you.
“If you’re playing Australia, it’s obvious you’re vaccinated. So that’s why I said I’m willing to play Australia.
“But I won’t say if you’ll see me there, but we’re going to see in January.”
Medvedev, who will end his year after the Davis Cup Finals in early December, has urged officials to shorten the season and lessen players’ burden.
“We’re probably the only top sport that is playing 11 months a year,” he said.
“So you’re going to have like two-and-a-half weeks of the off-season to prepare for the Australian Open, which is obviously not enough.”