Novak Djokovic unlikely to play at Australian Open due to vaccination rule
- Tennis Australia said players have to mandatorily inform them about their vaccine status if they want to play at Melbourne Park
- Novak Djokovic’s father said Tennis Australia is blackmailing players
- Djokovic has not disclosed his vaccination status so far
World No. 1 men’s singles tennis player Novak Djokovic is unlikely to play at the Australian Open 2022 if the organisers do not tweak the COVID-19 vaccination rules, said his father Srdan Djokovic on Sunday.
Craig Tiley, the director of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, on Saturday said that only players vaccinated against COVID-19 will have the right to play at Melbourne Park.
The Serbian tennis star, Djokovic has so far refused to disclose his vaccination status and his father Srdan Djokovic said that the host of the Australian Open, Tennis Australia, wants to know the players’ vaccination status in order to “blackmail” them.
"As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not. No one has the right to enter into our intimacy, it is guaranteed by the constitution. Everyone has the right to decide on their health. Whether he is vaccinated or not, that is his exclusive right. Will he publish it, I don't think so. I don't know that decision either, and if I did, I wouldn't share it with you. He has the right to decide as he wants," Srdjan Djokovic was quoted as saying by news website B92.
“Under these blackmails and conditions, (Djokovic) probably won’t (play). I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself,” he added.
Srdjan questions Tiley's recognised vaccine remark
Srdjan Djokovic has also shed light on a slightly deeper story about Australia and vaccination, as well as the words of the director of the Australian Open, Craig Tiley, that players vaccinated only with recognised vaccines will participate.
"What is a recognized vaccine, Mr. Craig? Russian vaccine is not a recognized vaccine? According to our criteria, only Chinese and Russian are recognized. The libertarian world has 90 percent of the world's population. For us, it is Russian and Chinese. Recognize them along with your vaccine. I don't think that's right, because you don't recognize Russian and Chinese,” Srdjan stated.
Djokovic, who has won 20 Grand Slams, including nine at the Australian Open, is the defending champion of the Australian Open. He is currently at par with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the all-time Grand Slam record list.
Nadal, meanwhile, has confirmed he will play at Melbourne Park in January but Federer will miss the tournament as he recovers from another knee surgery.
The Australian Open will start on January 17.