Novak Djokovic willing to play in Australian Open 2022
- Djokovic’s father had earlier said his son would not play in the Australian Open due to the vaccine rules
- The Australian Open organisers have said all players must either be vaccinated against coronavirus or secure a medical exemption from the Victorian Government
- The Australian Open will start from 17-22 January 2022
Novak Djokovic is still hopeful of playing in the Australian Open, the first grand slam of 2022, at Melbourne Park, the Serbian's teammate Dusan Lajovic said. The Australian Open 2022 is scheduled to start from 17-22 January.
The world number one men’s singles tennis player, Djokovic pulled out of the season-opening ATP Cup, which begins on Saturday in Sydney where he had been due to lead his country. Lajovic is expected to lead Serbia in the ATP Cup in Djokovic's absence, but there is no confirmation over whether or not nine-time champion Djokovic will defend his title at Melbourne Park next month.
In November, Djokovic’s father Srđan Đoković said his son would not participate in the Australian Open due to the Australia Open organiser’s vaccine rules.
The Melbourne Park organisers said all players must either be vaccinated against coronavirus or secure a medical exemption from the Victorian Government, for which the state has set a strict criterion.
Djokovic has repeatedly refused to say whether or not he is vaccinated but he has previously voiced vaccine scepticism and has spoken out strongly about his belief that athletes should have the right to choose.
“Unfortunately he’s not able to come here but he was I think hoping, same as we did, that somehow he will be here. Unfortunately he’s not, and we’ve got to deal with it,” Lajovic said at a press conference ahead of the ATP Cup.
Regarding Djokovic’s chances of playing in Melbourne, Lajovic said, “He just said that he’s not coming to the ATP (Cup) and trying to get to Australian Open.”
Players have begun arriving in Melbourne
Players have started arriving in Australia over the last few days and began their preparations for the 2022 season-opening grand slam. French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is the latest player to reveal she is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Australia.
Andy Murray, who missed the tournament last year after an ill-timed bout of the virus, will play in the Australian Open this time around. He was seen practising at Melbourne Park along with defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka.